Gambian journalists from both the print and electronic media will today undergo a day-long capacity building training on access to renewable energy for cooking.
This capacity building forum is organised by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MOPE) in collaboration with the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) under the West Africa Clean Cooking Energy Alliance (WACCA).
The day-long workshop sought to build the capacity of journalists and other communicators to better play their role of informing the society on access to renewable energy for cooking. This according to officials will raise awareness on the subject and further remove communication barriers that hinder the widespread promotion of clean cooking energy solution.
Journalists will also be equipped with relevant information on the negative consequences of traditional equipments and cooking fuels on the environment, human health and the socio economic development of the country.
According to the World Energy Outlook 2012, a staggering 2.6 billion people still depend on the traditional cooking stoves in the world. However, women and children bears the burden of spending long hours collecting cooking fuel or in a smoky kitchen thereby, exposing them to indoor-air pollution.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also revealed that the effect of the smoky or indoor-air pollution is responsible for four million premature deaths per year mainly women and children globally. Additionally, about 80% of households in ECOWAS of which The Gambia is not an exception use charcoal and woods as their primary cooking fuel which exposes them to dangerous health risks.
Energy officials said the staggering number of the use of the traditional cooking stoves, which posed a threat to deforestation and climate change, prompted the ECOWAS, ECREEE and its partners to launch the WACCA initiative in October 2012 in a bid to promote a wide distribution of efficient, affordable, sustainable and safe cooking fuel and devices to the ECOWAS population by 2030.
Journalists, key in information sharing and distribution, are targeted in this capacity building forum for them to be enlightened and to enlighten the stakeholders more on the negative effects of the traditional cooking stoves on human health and the society at large.
It is expected that at the end of the training, journalists and other communicators will be properly equipped to support the efforts of WACCA and the national alliances in communication and raising awareness.
by Meita Touray