Liberia-September 27, 2023: A youth-led media development group, Youth Media Action has certificated nineteen student journalists for successfully completing Strive Press Club eight months of journalism training.
The Executive Director of Youth Media Action, Varmah Kamara revealed that the eight-month after-school journalism empowered young people to improve their reading and writing proficiency.
Mr. Kamara added that the initiative also developed the professional media skills of participants beginning at the high school and community levels.
“This was a special initiative geared towards training high school students in basic journalism and simultaneously improving literacy,” he added.
According to him, about thirty (30) young people between the ages of 5-21 years were recruited to strengthen their interpersonal working relationships to work with their peers and report on issues in their schools and communities.
“Unlike other programs, Strive Press Club provided the space for young people to develop teamwork, interpersonal and networking spirit which enabled them to share knowledge and brainstorm on issues that affect them in their schools and communities,” the YMA Executive Director noted.
Mr. Kamara added that the Strive Press Club students also participated in the production of “High School Special” a 30-minute news magazine program that is aired on ELBC every Saturday from 10:00 am to 10: 30 am.
“The High School special did not only enhance students’ reading ability but served as a means of exposing our students to the real and practical world of Journalism,” he added.
Serving as the keynote speaker of the event, the Program Coordinator of the National Society Council of Liberia, Mathew Karley challenged the students to use the skills acquired from the 8-month training.
Mr. Karley said while the students may not be full flesh journalists yet, he wants them to apply those basic skills learned over the years if they are to improve and make progress in their reading and writing.
“You may not be mainstream journalists but if you can apply what you have learned here over the last eight months, you will significantly improve in asking questions or writing a news script,” Mr. Karley added.
He believes that extracurricular activities like the YMA Strive Press Club programs are smart ways to keep young people engaged and empowered for a better future.
The NACSL Program coordinator who presented five thousand Liberian dollars to the best team after a news presentation exhibition thanked Universal Outreach Foundation and Youth Media Action for organising such a platform to train the next generation of journalists.
He also called on the parents to always enrol and support their children in such initiatives if they are to become productive citizens.
“Our parents should not just focus on paying the regular school fees, they must also look out for smart programs like these where their children can learn self-development and other basic skills,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Universal Outreach Foundation, Program Facilitator, Madam Bendu Getty hailed Youth Media Action for successfully working with the student journalists over the eight-month period.
Madam Getty added that the Universal Outreach Foundation remains committed to supporting Liberian youths to enable them to become more productive citizens.
“I am very happy for the level of work done by our partner Youth Media Action over the last eight months; I’m from a teaching background and I know how difficult it is working with young people,” she emphasised.
Speaking on behalf of the students, Miss Dorcas Gotolo hailed Youth Media Action and Universal Outreach Foundation for helping to improve her grammar and pronunciation skills.
“When I first came to Strive, I used to be scared to speak among my friends but I’m standing in front of you today to express myself and thank these people because of what they have done for me,” Miss Gotolo added.
Also speaking, a parent of one of the participants, Mr. Wonder Richards promised to recruit more students for the Strive Press club due to the difference he has seen in his daughter’s life since she joined the program in 2021.
“I am very happy today and will recruit more youths for strive press clubs because it has helped my daughter Courage Richards in so many ways and I want to salute all of the organizers for this golden opportunity,” Mr. Richards concluded.
At the same time, thirty-two (32) participants (27 females, 5 males) have been certificated for successfully completing a six-week journalism and enrichment.
Launched in 2019, the Vacation Journalism School introduces young people interested in journalism and self-development to contemporary multi-media and strategies to transform into the best version of themselves wide variety of in-depth courses with cutting-edge techniques for self-guided improvement.
The keynote speaker at the climax of the Vacation Journalism Program, Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh welcomed the initiative while he challenged the students to emulate ethical standards if they are to stand out.
Mr. Sengbeh also added that young people must prioritise productive activities that will better prepare them for future endeavours.
“I will share with you one story of two young lads where one wrote on the sand and the other on the rock; you are writing on the sand today and eventually will write on the rock when you utilize the skills you have learned here today,” he explained.
He spoke over the weekend at the Liberia Broadcasting System in Paynesville City when he served as keynote speaker at the official closing program of Youth Media Action six weeks Vacation Journalism School where he challenged the students to be focused and steadfast.