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Timoun ak Medya
Hear some of the project's
3 Impasse Lily
Tel: +509 510 9471; 558 5606
Radio Netherlands Training
'Our Own Voice' was launched in March 2000 as a three-year project,
jointly implemented by Plan,
Radio Netherlands Training
Centre (RNTC) and the Panos
Our Own Voice is a component of a wider Plan programme entitled
'Child Rights and Participatory Media in Civil Society', which currently
involves projects in El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras
Aims and objectives
The programme aims to provide children with the skills required
for effective participation in community development activities,
using creative media and creating opportunities for their increased
positive presence in media. It also seeks to raise awareness among
parents and children on children's rights and the value of children's
participation in community development activities. Its objectives
to empower child journalists to work up to their full potential;
to build up a network of child journalists in Plan programme
to encourage media to include children's issues and perspectives
in their programming by regularly providing them with relevant information;
to establish solidarity between adult and child journalists;
to demonstrate the benefits of having more children in media
programming and to add to the information base on children's issues
to disseminate widely the best of the results of the children's
work in various media forms, throughout Haiti and internationally;
to increase awareness on child rights at national and international
to facilitate an exchange of experiences and views of children
Five groups of child journalists in the north-east, west and south-east
of Haiti; 250 children participating in listeners' clubs; 75 professional
journalists in Haiti (and 250,000 children as readers of the magazine).
Parents and children.
Involvement of children
Young participants operate as journalists and are organized in
clubs to provide feedback and develop local action on child rights
Summary of project
In the framework of a regional Plan initiative and with the technical
support of Radio Netherlands and the Panos Institute, PLAN-Haiti
supports child journalists' groups in the north-east, west and south-east
of the country.
In the north-east, two radio groups run by children have been established
and a third group of children are in the process of establishing
their journalistic activities. In the west, a children's video group
has been set up and in the south-east photojournalism activities
with children are under way. Youngsters have received training on
child rights and radio, video, print and photojournalism. Radio
children journalists broadcast their own programmes twice a week
on a local radio station (Radio Gamma). Their programmes are transcribed
and published by the Panos Institute (also on the web) for distribution
to national and international media. Trips with young journalists
provide reporting opportunities beyond their own communities.
The Panos website provides
a forum for the international exchange of ideas, experiences, comment
and information among child journalists and interested children's
groups. It also helps child journalists with the wide dissemination
of their media productions in Creole, English, French and Spanish.
As such the website of Our Own Voice hopes to achieve:
collaboration and partnerships in story production among
child journalists across borders;
the provision of information on child rights and children's
issues to the media in Haiti, the Caribbean and Central America,
as well as internationally.
Our Own Voice provides additional support to child journalists
in the North-East Department of Haiti, through the following activities:
trips for the child journalists to provide practical reporting
opportunities, exposure to information and sources, interaction
training in writing techniques and computing;
assistance in the production and dissemination of a children's
The Dutch National office of PLAN
is the primary funder.
Additional support comes from individual donors.
Budget for the financial year 2002:
workshop and training for children and adults US$36,000;
children's magazine US$35,000;
website, children's events (excursions) and special US$39,000 awareness
activities to media;
materials and equipment US$39,000;
journalist network (training and meetings) US$9,000;
co-ordination meetings US$2,000.
Strengths of project
Groups of child journalists in various local communities produce
regular radio magazines, which are broadcast on local radio stations.
This material is then made available on a website.
Children are trained as reporters and supported to cover events
of interest on community development issues or child rights. They
also carry out awareness campaigns on child rights issues at local
level and produce awareness material.
Adult attitudes towards child rights and children's participation
at community level and amongst journalists were probably the greatest
challenge of the project. In a society where most adults don't feel
their rights are respected and where children are considered as
ti bet (little animals), empowering children is a difficult
task. However, the positive example of the children who participate,
and the pride of their parents and relatives when they hear their
children on the radio, have changed negative attitudes and contributed
to a greater acceptance of children's rights and child participation.
In addition, care was taken to involve adults as much as possible
in the programme in order to win their support and understanding
of the activity.
Semi-structured interviews with the participating child journalists
have revealed a reduction of violence in the home and direct environment
of the children. Children are reported to have stopped beating their
younger siblings and other children; parents have stopped or reduced
physical violence against children and started to communicate more
openly with them.
Experiences from PLAN's West African radio programme have contributed
to the development of the Haitian radio programme. Being part of
a regional radio project, experiences with other Central American
countries are being shared to ensure institutional learning and
improvement of these activities.
Developing an effective selection process for children participating
in the initiative is crucial to making the project a success.
Intensive training and constant interaction and exchange
with children are needed in order to provide adequate support.
The products (reports, radio magazines, publications) produced
by children are the best tools to convince adults of children's
The programme aims to have a positive impact on children and on
adult awareness of children's rights and their acceptance of children
as active players in their society. We expect that:
adults will start to respect children's opinions;
children will learn to express themselves better and develop
self-respect as well as respect for others;
young people will start to develop a more critical view
of society and their own role as contributing members;
a more open discussion will develop between adults and children
and amongst young people.
Numerous examples demonstrate the impact of the project on the
target audience. Children report on improved family relationships,
reduced violence, and youth acting as facilitators for public events
such as the Day of the Child. Plan staff have, on several occasions,
overheard children talking about the radio programme and child rights
on their way back from school. "I have rights too," is a sentence
you now hear frequently from children in the communities involved.
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