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Rwanda/Zambia, 12 July 2010: World Cup in My Village an enormous success

NEW YORK/CAPE TOWN, 12 July - Thousands of young people in the most remote areas in Rwanda and Zambia watched the 2010 FIFA World Cup games as the eyes of the world focused on their continent for the past four weeks.

As part of World Cup in My Village, UNICEF, the Children’s Radio Foundation and local partners set up public viewing areas in sandy football pitches, open fields, community schools and refugee settlements.

Inflatable air screens and satellite dishes made the seemingly impossible happen – showing the games in areas with limited or no access to electricity and broadcast connection.

As well as watching the games, World Cup in My Village used the power of football to communicate with young people and encourage them to make their voices heard. At half-time during the matches radio shows, produced by young people from the local community who were trained as journalists, were broadcasted.

In radio and video workshops they learned interviewing techniques, expressing their opinion clearly and producing media pieces which were good enough to be shown to an audience of thousands of people. The youth-produced pieces were complemented by public service announcements on education, child rights, health and other pressing issues.

In Rwanda alone, 20,000 people who are living in isolated communities and are cut off from mainstream sources of information, made use of the public viewing areas in their communities.

“The success of this initiative has shown us that we are on the right track in our thinking”, said Mr.Gerrit Beger, who is leading UNICEF’s innovations drive. “The opportunities provided by social media and new technologies for our work are enormous. Tens of thousands of rural and marginalized children and young people have been reached with educational messaging and were able to enjoy the World Cup for the first time in their lives.”

In Zambia the screens were moved around each night and attracted a total of 12,000 viewers. The earlier viewings took place in community schools and then the project moved to a UNHCR refugee settlement eight hours away from Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, for the last week of screenings.

Many young people in Zambia, who were interviewed by the youth journalists, remarked that they had only ever heard football games on the radio and that it was the first time they had actually seen the players they had heard so much about.

“The primary highlight for me was seeing the confidence of the youth
journalists as they took on leadership positions at the screenings and used the opportunity to speak about issues concerning them in their communities” says Michal Rahfaldt, Director of Programs at the Children’s Radio Foundation. Education, unemployment, HIV and AIDS, the environment and child rights were only a few topics that the young reporters addressed in their radio talk shows.

Now that the World Cup is over, the inflatable screens and projectors will be used by UNICEF Country Offices for future community activities. The project’s community partner in Rwanda, Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle, is discussing the possibility of starting a youth radio station based on the philosophy: 'radio for young people, by young people' with the core group of newly trained youth reporters

In Zambia the young journalists have arranged to work with reporters at a local community radio station to create regular youth programming and to host a talk show for young people in their communities. Acting as peer leaders they are engaging young people from their communities in the program. Many of the young journalists have also taken on the role of climate ambassadors, advocating for responsible environmental behavior in their communities. Their new skills support them in their role as youth activists.

World Cup in My Village was created as a part of UNICEF’s support of the 1 Goal campaign, which aims at getting every child into primary school by 2015. The majority of media pieces produced by young people were about how education or the lack of it had affected their lives.

Through media training many young people learned how to express themselves better and found ways to participate in the discussions of their communities. Following the enormous success of the project UNICEF and the Children’s Radio Foundation are now exploring ways to replicate the concept in more countries and for more great sporting events to come.

About UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

 

 
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