Togo

Youth media activists unite to broadcast the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Togo

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© UNICEF Togo/2009/Bonnaud
Young journalists from the ‘The Planet Is Ours’ NGO shoot a news story on the situation of Togolese children, in Lome, Togo.

By Hadrien Bonnaud

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF is featuring a series of stories about this landmark international agreement on the basic human rights of all children – including progress made and challenges that remain. Here is one of those stories.

LOMÉ, Togo, 12 January 2010 – Inspired by a UNICEF video on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a group of young journalists have produced a video about children’s rights that will be screened on Togolese national television.

VIDEO: Watch now

“When we saw the video, we realized that if all children knew the CRC they would be able to express what they live through instead of being commanded by adults,” said Eyram, a 16-year-old reporter.

The budding television journalists went to different schools in the capital city of Lomé to interview children on CRC issues and sensitize them on child rights.

The young journalists all work with ‘The Planet is Ours,’ a non-governmental organization for children that was given 30 minutes of airtime every Sunday by the Togolese national television channel (TVT). Founded and directed by Charles Adom, the NGO has been putting children on the air since 2004.

The right to expression

The show provides a forum for children to express themselves, an important but oft-overlooked right guaranteed in the CRC. The show has tackled sensitive issues such as exploitation and abuse.

“Even though we have courses on civil education in primary school, we never speak about violence and exploitation,” said Emmanuelle, 16, in her interview with the young journalists.

“That’s true,” said Didier, another student. “Enough is enough, we have to speak out.”
 
“In order to tackle the lack of knowledge, we decided to interview an exploited and abused child to inform a maximum number of people through an individual story,” said Mr. Adom.

Breaking the silence

Didier said it was difficult for children to speak out when they witnessed abuse and violence against children: “The culture of silence is strong,” he said. “But we try to sensitize [children and adults] on ALLO 111.”

ALLO 111 is a free child helpline that the Government of Togo launched in early 2009 - with the support of UNICEF and other partners. The line allows callers to report on and address child rights violations in Lomé.

The child helpline receives an average of 600 calls a day and approximately 700 cases of child exploitation and abuse have been reported and properly followed up on, thanks to the project.

In Togo an estimated 29 per cent of children from 5 to 14 years old are used for economic and domestic activities that are considered harmful to their development. “Our message is simple: children have rights and the CRC has been created to defend our rights,” said Eyram.


 

 

Video

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), youth journalists from Togo produced a short documentary explaining key elements of the CRC. 

This is Part I of the the four part series:
 VIDEO  high | low

Part II:
 VIDEO  high | low

Part III:
 VIDEO  high | low

Part IV:
 VIDEO  high | low

CRC @ 20

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