NSGA gives training to 150 PHEs, TCs and others

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Nova Scotia-Gambia Association (NSGA) on Wednesday completed a three-week intensive summer school training on communication skills, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, STIs, TB, malaria and diabetes.

The participants included about one hundred Peer Health Educators (PHEs), who were drawn from fifty basic schools in the country.

The objective of the training is to equip both the PHEs and their Co-ordinators with the required knowledge, attitudes and skills for them to be able to effectively function in sensitising and educating their peers, parents and communities at large on pertinent health issues.

Delivering his keynote address, Kunkung Jobarteh, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Department of State for Basic and Secondary Education, reiterated DoSE fruitful working relationships with NSGA, dating back to the late 1980s. He then added that his department has also recognised the contributions that NSGA has made to the health and educational attainment of the youth of The Gambia over the last two decades.

DPS Jobarteh further pointed out that the summer school is now in its third year, and the staff of NSGA, Teacher Coordinators, PHEs and the Canadian volunteers have worked tirelessly to ensure that they annually  improve upon the achievement of the past, citing that the summer school is another example of the method used by NSGA to re-enforce and promote the key educational and health messages so as to transform their behaviours for the betterment of Gambian youth; and to also offer a unique opportunity for Teacher Coordinators, PHEs and professional Canadian volunteers to come together for a mutually-beneficial learning experience.

In his opening remarks, Lamin Gibba, NSGA assistant Summer School Coordinator and the Master of ceremony, said “puberty is a very sensitive and tempting period in the lives of young people”, adding that this is so, because is a period when children are eager to explore new experiences, such as smoking, drugs and substances abuse and even premarital sex, just to name a few.

According to him, it makes our priceless children to be very vulnerable to diseases and other societal problems. He also stated that it is unfortunate that “in most families our cultures are such that parents hardly dialogue with their children on issues, particularly those relating to sex and sexuality, since they are considered a taboo subject. The PHE programme is therefore, out to bridge this information gap with a view to reducing children’s vulnerability”, he added.

Binta Jadama, NSGA Summer School Coordinator dilated on their achievements and methods. She then revealed that NSGA trained 221 PHEs, 58 Teacher Coordinators and 50 communities, adding that they have this year adopted a different method of training.

 She said schools in the URR, CRR and two schools in WR had in-school training by two Canadian Resource Persons who were here in April.

They have so far managed to train 175 PHEs and 32 TCs.

Other speakers included Kevin Hughes, Director of West African Operation, NSGA, and a Canadian volunteer.

The ceremony was marked with presentation of prizes and drama plays.

Author: Written by Sheriff Barry
Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper