Youth Media Guyana Receives UNICEF Regional Award for Major Communication Innovation
Georgetown, Guyana - June 12, 2008 – Members of the local youth media group - Youth Media Guyana (YMG) will today receive the UNICEF “Traces Communication Award” for best major innovation for excellent work produced via their Youth News Bulletin. The first annual “Traces” award is a UNICEF regional initiative which acknowledges excellent communication work that has been done in Latin America and the Caribbean in the past year and was opened to all UNICEF offices in Latin America and the Caribbean countries.
Explaining the basis on which the award was given, UNICEF Communication Officer, Leslyn Thompson said that at a recently concluded regional meeting of UNICEF Communication Officers in Panama, UNICEF Guyana was awarded the prize for the best major innovation. She continued that “in a dramatically changing communications landscape, UNICEF efforts at innovation are keen to the positioning of our messaging, so we are always seeking creative and innovative ways of promoting messages for children’s development. This award was based on the impact of a new, innovative idea, which others can learn from and replicate in other country offices.”
This award is being presented to Youth Media Guyana in recognition of the excellent work done in the production of their 11 minute Youth News Bulletin which was submitted in the category of best innovation.
Youth Media Guyana was officially launched in May 2007 through the collaborative efforts of the National Communication Network (NCN), the National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRC) and UNICEF, with the aim of empowering young people and providing an avenue to help them advocate for their rights
According to YMG member Andrea Bryan, the 11 Minutes Youth News is a monthly television news cast for young people by young people, presenting current social, economic and political themes from a youth perspective. It also gives young people in Guyana a platform from which their voices can be heard. “In this way, young people are given opportunities to speak for themselves about their hopes and fears, achievements and the impact of adult behaviour on their lives, within all regions of Guyana, “she opined. The programmes are researched, scripted, voiced and presented by youth media members themselves and is aired at 9:00 hours every first Saturday of the month, with production facilities and free airtime provided by NCN.
Continuing, Bryan spoke of the impact of the work done by YMG, “Our short term goals have been met in terms of creating an avenue for youth expression through the media. We have successfully completed monthly episodes of 11 Minutes Youth News for television, collaborated with Trinidad and Suriname to produce a Caribbean youth news bulletin (print and video) for the second COHSOD on children held in Guyana earlier in March, trained over 150 students from across Guyana to produce one minute videos. We have also been able to expand into the print media through the production of our poster and sticker encouraging young people to express themselves,” she concluded.
Further expansion for the young journalists include setting up of a youth media centre, production of fortnightly news bulletin for television, production of a radio programme and at lease three print pieces by end of 2008.
Speaking on behalf of other YMG members, Lomeharshansham Lall said “We hope to create a new generation of youth advocates who will continue long after we’re gone. They will learn and grow positively, becoming the journalists, artists, broadcasters, poets, musicians, policy makers… of the future.”
The core group of YMG comprises representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport – Justim Mounter and Shabir Ali, NCN’s Vidya Bijlall; the Varqa Foundation ‘s Lomeharshansham Lall, the President’s College, Joel Joseph and Journalist Andrea Byran. The group is mentored by veteran Communication Specialist Dr. Rovin Deodat.
For further information
Leslyn Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org, UNICEF Guyana