UNICEF trains Gombe journalists on ending violence against children

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

UNICEF has trained some journalists in Gombe State as part of activities leading up to the launch of the campaign to end violence against children.

The one day media dialogue and training programme has been organized  to provide participants with in-depth information on the findings of the Nigeria violence against children, 2014 Survey, which was conducted by the National Population Commission.

According to UNICEF, the training is to ensure how the media can be part of the multi-sectoral approach to ending violence against children in Gombe State, based on the findings of the survey conducted.

It has encouraged journalists in Gombe State to be at the forefront of reporting violence against children, so as to create the necessary awareness to the public and also end the ugly trend.

Speaking at a Media Dialogue on Violence Against Children and Training on Ethical reporting of children’s issues, the Child Protection Specialist in the UNICEF Bauchi Office, Mrs. Ladi Alabi, said journalists should use their expertise to ensure the public is aware of the consequences of violence against children in the future of the country.

Mrs. Alabi said the public looked up to the media and their contribution in reporting all forms of violence against children would bring an end or reduce the menace in the state.

“UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Gombe State to give the media appropriate orientation, particularly as it relates to reporting cases of violence against children. When we talk about violence against children, stigmatization, is a very big issue around here, especially when we are thinking about cases like rape and so many other things.

So it’s very, very important that the media when reporting to raise the awareness to protect the children is very, very important that the media handles this reporting, in such a way that no child gets stigmatized in the efforts to create the right awareness to protect the same child,” said Mrs. Alabi.

The Media Dialogue, according to UNICEF is to orientate the media on the rights of the Child in the context of ending Violence Against Children, present the current situation, unveil the campaign to end violence against children, as well as equip the media with various interventions to strengthen Child Protection mechanisms  in the State.

The move became necessary due to the findings of the survey, conducted in 2014, which shows that 60 per cent of children in Nigeria surfer from one form of violence or the other.

This UNICEF says has a huge negative impact on the future leaders the country will produce.

To prevent such negative development from continuing in the country, UNICEF says the media is needed to get the messages across to the desired audiences on ending Violence against children.

The Permanent Secretary, Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs Laraba Ahmad, said the campaign on ending violence against children must be consistent, continued and carried out with passion.

“The workshop is very essential because the media is key in disseminating the information we want to reach the ordinary man. So we are sensitizing the media on how to go about making our own report and telling the people what we want them to understand. So the most important thing is information, which is very key and it is only the media that will do that for us,” said Laraba.

The Director, Child Protection Development at the Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr. Janis Mayamba, said the Campaign to End Violence against Children by the Gombe State Government was designed and targeted at various stakeholders, including media men who are needed as mediums of spreading the gospel of ending violence against children.

“I’ll like to cease this opportunity to call on children protection actors at all levels, especially you, the media to spread the Gospel of ending violence against children, maintain the momentum and renew your commitment to ending violence against children by 20130.  Immediately and urgently, we should invest the resources required, to ensure that our children grow up free from all forms of violence. It is time to take action. Together, let us ens violence against children,” Mr. Mayamba said.

Participants in the UNICEF Media Dialogue on ending Violence Against Children are expected to become aware of the situation in Gombe State and the initiatives being conceived to address it.

It is also important to understand the rights children have in that context and agree on strategies and plans to support and sustain the Campaign to end violence against children in Gombe State and the country at large.

Omolayo.A