ICT programme on preventing violent extremism launched at Asankragwa

The first Information and Communication Technology (ICT) programme on preventing violent extremism has been launched at Asankragwa in the Amenfi West Municipality of the Western Region.

It was on the theme, “ICT and Media: Efficient Tools for the Youth in Preventing Violent Extremism.”

The programme, initiated by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), seeks to empower especially the youth against the wrong use of the internet, and to enable them gain more knowledge.

Launching the programme, the Administrator of GIFEC, Mr Abraham Kofi Asante, said UNESCO’s action was guided by the principle that countering violent extremism was not enough, but everybody must come on board to prevent it because no one was born with violence, but some people come in and teach it to other innocent people.

He said disarming processes must begin with human rights and the rule of law, with dialogue across all lines by empowering the youth through education and skills for decent jobs.

Mr Asante said technological and cultural competencies were required to sharpen the youth’s critical thinking antennae for dialogue, adding “such interventions must start very early in homes, communities and on the benches of schools.”

He indicated that UNESCO had put the youth at the very heart of efforts to address the root causes of violent extremism because there was growing concern of the number of youth who were recruited on daily basis to join groups with extremist ideas such as al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.

Mr Asante said it had become necessary to make the Ghanaian youth aware and equip them with the requisite digital skills which were fundamental to stimulate the prevention of violent extremism, and make them active participants of the information and knowledge society of the 21st century.

The Municipal Chief Executive for Amenfi West Municipality, Mr George Agyir, in his welcome address, observed that violent extremism and the use of ICT was a social menace especially with the youth and that, there was the need to equip the youth especially the girl-child to know how to counter what social media was using to capture the innocent children.

He urged all participants to pay attention to the facilitators in order to be well acquainted with the operations of social media so that they did not become victims.

The chairman of the function, Abusuapanyin Appia Dwaah said children were trained in the home and school to represent society and the nation so there was the need to be decent and upright so that their lives would be a living testimony for others.

FROM PETER GBAMBILA, ASANKRAGWA.

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