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Representing Lost Childhood
Training programme for media professionals and children.
The PressWise Trust
Mike Jempson, Director
The PressWise Trust
38 Easton Business Centre
Felix Road, Bristol, BS5 0HE, UK
Tel: +44 117 941 5889
Fax: +44 117 941 5848
Butterflies Programme for Street
and Working Children, New Delhi
British Council, New Delhi
Instituto de Defensa Legal, Peru
Qosqo Maki, Peru
Unlimited Productions (UK)
1999-2002: training programmes in Armenia, Georgia, India, Latvia,
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova,
Peru, the Philippines and Romania.
Using the Internet, PressWise ascertained that there was widespread
demand among journalists for training on coverage of children affected
by conflict; and among children's NGOs (non-governmental organizations)
for training on media relations; and in radio production techniques
for children. We then sought funding for partnership projects.
Aims and objectives
To enable children affected by war, exploitation, poverty and abuse
to win space in the media for their ideas, needs and opinions, especially
by sensitizing media professionals to their stories.
Media professionals, NGO workers and children living or working
on the streets aged 9-18.
Media professionals, NGO workers and young people.
The public (especially children, young people and their carers)
and policy makers.
Involvement of children
Teams of children living or working on the streets in New Delhi
and Cuzco learned radio production techniques.
Summary of project
Working with UNICEF communications
officers in the UK, journalists with international experience delivered
three-day courses on the coverage of children, with media professionals
from Armenia, Georgia, Kosovo, Latvia, the former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.
Working with local NGOs, radio workshops were delivered to groups
of children in New Delhi, India, and Cuzco in Peru. More workshops
are planned for the Philippines and Zambia. Each event was written
The Diana Princess of Wales
Strengths of project
The journalism training was rooted in direct experience, engaging
media professionals in challenging debate with their peers and encouraging
networking across borders and disciplines.
The radio workshops were entirely practical, transferring skills
to children who were then empowered to make their own programmes.
In each case the training was accompanied by visits and discussions
with editors, media regulators and trainers to generate local interest
in coverage of children's rights, and to assist follow-up.
In India the children presented their radio segments to an invited
audience of media professionals, resulting in an extraordinary dialogue
and unprecedented media coverage, especially as the children exploded
myths about themselves which had been generated by previous unbalanced
In Cuzco the children made such an impression that consortia of
local radio stations formally agreed to include child-produced materials
in their schedules on a regular basis.
Developing and delivering similar training in very different settings
can be problematic, and there is understandable resistance to 'external'
interference especially if the trainers have, at best, only a theoretical
knowledge of local conditions.
However, making children's rights the focus of the work is a great
leveller, and the most important element of the courses was the
willingness of everyone involved to think about and challenge their
Each training session was followed by a discussion and the completion
of evaluation forms which were then analysed both by local partners
and by PressWise, which produced a summary report. Return visits
were organized a year later, where possible, and contact was maintained
with some of the participants. External evaluation was to be arranged
by The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, but this has yet to
Always find ways of setting things in a local context and building
in elements of sustainability (training of trainers) especially
if there is insufficient funding to follow up each training event.
If media trainers are going to enter unknown territory, theoretical
knowledge is no substitute for direct engagement with local media.
Use local trainers whenever possible.
When building partnerships, don't be afraid to keep asking questions
and seeking evidence for answers. Good documentation is essential
if lessons are to be learned. Finding ways of communicating with
senior media executives about children's rights is as important
as training working journalists.
Getting journalists to debate among themselves about best practice
is one of the best ways of encouraging reflection and change. Linking
the training to other events and activities to highlight the importance
of children's rights and the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) can provide local
projects with a platform from which to develop public debate and
policy changes in collaboration with the media.
Encouraging journalists to listen to children with respect is a
vital element in the process of effecting change. Each training
session included opportunities for participants to develop story
ideas which they could follow up after the event, and they were
encouraged to develop their own networks to share information and
All training materials were made available in local languages for
future adaptation and use. Each training session incorporated the
ideas of those present taking ownership so that the sensitization
could continue. We have maintained contact with some participants,
and sought to ensure that the enthusiasts gained additional experience
A comprehensive account of the children's radio workshop in New
Delhi, with transcripts, has been produced by Butterflies
Programme for Street and Working Children. Reports on training
events appear on (Peru)
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