UNICEF National Ambassador César Costa (centre) at the Mexico City office with the UNICEF/OneWorld Radio Prize winners in the public service announcement category.
By Karen Cirillo
NEW YORK, USA, 11 April 2007 – UNICEF has presented prizes to the first-place winners in a youth media competition organized in cooperation with OneWorld Radio.
Awards for best public service announcement and best radio feature (up to six minutes) were presented recently at UNICEF’s offices in Mexico and Zambia, respectively.
The UNICEF/OneWorld Radio Prize – which celebrates youth participation in media – is given to youth-produced radio programmes reflecting the competition’s theme. The theme for entries last year was Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS.
Youth voices from Veracruz
In Mexico City, UNICEF National Ambassador César Costa welcomed the winning youth radio producers to an awards ceremony and praised them for their work. The producers – part of Desarrollo Autogestionario, a community development organization that works with mothers and children in Veracruz – won first prize for a public service announcement on HIV/AIDS.
The PSA, entitled ‘Lupita’, conveys the discrimination a girl faces, not just because she is of indigenous descent but also because she is living with HIV. In a schoolyard, another girl is admonished for playing with Lupita in a vignette demonstrating the effects of stigma and discrimination.
Travelling from Veracruz to attend the ceremony were director Águeda García, radio producer and youth trainer Gregorio Huesca and youth producers Norma García, Verónica Rodríguez, Itzel Navarro, Carlos Olarte, Felipe García, Claudio Alcántara, Arturo Flores Martínez and Ana Karen García. UNICEF Communication Officer Michael Klaus awarded the group a commemorative plaque and a professional radio recording kit.
“Maybe we can send a message to adults to say that we are not only concerned with fun but are equally interested in serious matters – that we live in the world too,” said Itzel, noting the importance of getting youth voices on the air.
A lasting prize in Zambia
In Zambia, the UNICEF office honoured Yesani Jose, 18, producer of the winning radio feature, ‘Living with HIV’. The four-minute piece tells the story of a young man discovering that he is HIV-positive. A monologue over a driving music soundtrack relays the subject’s feelings on learning that his diagnosis is not the end of his life.
Like his fellow winners in Mexico, Yesani received a plaque and recording kit. But he had already received another prize – a job at his local radio station. Upon learning that he had won the UNICEF/OneWorld Radio competition in the feature category, he took his notification letter from UNICEF to the station and requested a job.
Impressed by his first-prize win, they hired him as a reporter and announcer.
Winning the award “showed that our work could be recognized, not only in Africa but in the world,” said Yesani. “UNICEF has really shown us that we stand a chance out there, and if we keep on keeping on, anything is possible.”