ICDB a success in 2013
The BCO joined the rest of the world in commemorating ICBD on 3rd March. Several broadcasters were approached to partner with UNICEF to realise the mission of the day.
The theme for this year is "Expressing my right to life”. The Theme is Article 6 (Survival and development) and 12 & 13 (Respect for the views of the child) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child and Botswana Children’s Act, 2009. The Children’s rights portal illustrates the theme very well and these were the cornerstones of the discussions for ICDB 2013.
It allows children to voice issues of their livelihood such as factors and circumstances that make being alive exciting, painful, challenging or oven impossible. It would be great to hear from children why they think they deserve to live (why they are entitled to the right to life), how they should be kept alive and factors that contribute to child deaths every day.
Understanding children’s right to life
The right to life is a universally recognized right for all human beings. It is a fundamental right which governs all other existing rights. In its absence, all other fundamental rights have no reason to exist.
For children, the right to life is the chance to be able to live and have the possibility to grow, to develop and become adults. This right comprises two essential aspects: the right to have one’s life protected from birth and the right to be able to survive and develop appropriately.
The right to have one’s life protected from the moment of birth
The right to life, an essential right for all human beings
The right to life is an inherent right for each and every person. From his or her birth, the individual is considered a living being that must be protected. In effect, the human character implies that the dignity of the person must be respected, something which proceeds, above all, from the protection of one’s right to live. Thus, from birth, all children have the right to have their life protected.
The right to life is the right not to be killed
The right to life means also the right not to be killed. It is the formal interdiction against intentionally causing the death of a person. For children, this right implies, on the one hand, that countries will not subject children to the death penalty, and equally that countries will effectively protect the lives of children by actively fighting against and condemning acts of infanticide.
The right of survival and of child development
The right of children to grow and suitably develop
The child’s right to life also proceeds through the necessity of assuring that children have the possibility to grow and develop under favorable conditions. It is then necessary for children to be able to benefit from appropriate healthcare, a balanced diet, and a quality education, as well as being able to live in a healthy environment.
Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child): When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.
Article 13 (Freedom of expression): Children have the right to get and share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or others. In exercising the right to freedom of expression, children have the responsibility to also respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others. The freedom of expression includes the right to share information in any way they choose, including by talking, drawing or writing.
Children’s Act, 2009; 10. (1) Every child has an inherent right to life. (2) In order to ensure the enjoyment of this right, no person shall take any action or make any decision the effect of which will be to deprive a child of survival and development to the child’s full potential.
At Radio Botswana, a total of 10 children took part in a two hour live talk show on the theme “Expressing my Right to life” at the studios. Two children presenting covered the whole 2 hours with four joining them for an hour each group to discuss the topic. Issues discussed ranged from smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, abortion etc. The participating children were from Bokamoso Community Junior Secondary School in Gaborone and Gamodubu Childcare Trust. UNICEF provided tea and lunch. UNICEF was interviewed by RB2 to give a general background of CBD prior to the event.
Gabz fm together with UNICEF hosted a live broadcast in Ghanzi along the thene, “Expressing my right to life”.
There was a delay at the beginning of the programme due to technical glitches between Gabz FM and Botswana Telecommunications. Connections took longer than had been anticipated. The live broadcast was facilitated by a Gabz FM presenter who assisted four child presenters to run the programme. Child presenters discussed several issues concerning their right to life within the Ghanzi area context. Children talked about street children, teenage pregnancy and poverty which limit their potential in education and general success in life.
The children in conjunction with the Gabz FM presenter also interviewed stakeholders in matters child care, development and justice such as the local police, social workers, nurses, parents and teachers on their role in ensuring that children live healthy and conducive lives. I was also interviewed on behalf of BCO on the purpose of ICDB and what the theme expressing my right to life means. I also gave a brief thank you note at the end of the broadcast.
There were also entertaining portions to spice up the programme which included playing instruments, rapping, singing and poetry as well as a vox-pop of children in the audience interviewed about children’s rights in their native language of Sesarwa, Sekgalagadi, Afrikaans and Herero.
The live broadcast was concluded by an awarding of certificates to parting schools and the four child presenters.
In the end, it was a very enjoyable and beneficial programme for children and stakeholders in Ghanzi as well listeners anywhere in Botswana.
Other broadcasters such as Yarona Fm, Duma FM and Botswana Television did not manage to accord UNICEF airtime.
Even though other broadcasters did not manage to come on board, the commemorations went well. During the interview broadcasters were urged to partner with UNICEF by involving children in their programming throughout the year instead of just waiting for the designated commemorative day. This would give children an opportunity to talk about their aspirations, share information and thoughts with their peers as well as voice their opinions on issues concerning them. Not only will such a forum benefit the children but it will also help adults understand them and put programmes and policies in place that are relevant to the needs of the children.