Child participation contributes to the development of multiple skills required in children's development and future roles as adult citizens. The benefits of participation are immediate - for the children themselves, the adults around them, their communities and for the quality of the programmes they help shape. The positive impact of participation is increasingly recognized by adults, diminishing biases against young people's involvement in development processes. Meaningful participation is essential to adolescent growth and development because it helps build the knowledge, skills and capacities of young people, especially adolescent girls who have historically been denied a voice in decisions about their own lives. Through meaningful participation, adolescents learn important communication, negotiation and practical skills, assume civic responsibility and develop aspirations for the future.
Communication and a robust media are essential for all citizens, including children, to contribute to solutions for issues that affect their lives. They are also a way to transmit vital information to parents and policymakers on health, education and protection issues such as how to protect their children from malaria or on the damaging effects of child abuse.
The media programme provides Mozambican children and young people with an opportunity to express their views, opinions and feelings on issues affecting their lives through radio and television media while becoming participants in the shaping and monitoring of transparent and equitable national development agendas.
The children of Mozambique are being consulted more and are increasingly working in partnership to take action and be a part of wider decision making processes that affect them at many levels by building networks at national, regional and international levels and participating in relevant fora.
UNICEF's large Participatory Child Rights Media Network is uniquely positioned to lead the engagement of future generations through the participation of children and young people. UNICEF has been empowering children and young people to act as change agents on child rights and advocacy activities, based on local-level needs.
The Participatory Child Rights Media Network is the voice of Mozambican children in the local media. The network aims to stimulate engagement and participation of children and young people in development processes by providing them with a more regular platform to express their opinions. Children and young people are producing their own contributions, creating awareness at the community level of the issues that affect them the most.
Through the UNICEF supported Child-to-Child (C2C), Junior Youth-to-Junior Youth (JY2JY) and Youth-to-Youth (Y2Y) Media programmes, children and young people are involved in the development, production and presentation of radio and TV programmes by and for children to ensure their right to participation and offer them an opportunity to express themselves on issues that affect them.
UNICEF support to media development in Mozambique started in 2000 through the establishment of a partnership with Radio Mozambique and the C2C programme. Innovative approaches to programme production were introduced by ensuring that children themselves are involved in planning, production and presentation of C2C radio programmes. In 2004, UNICEF expanded the C2C media programme to a partnership with TV Mozambique. The 'Roda Viva' is a national TV show produced and presented by children and young people across the country. In 2005, to promote children's participation at district level, UNICEF engaged into a partnership with the National Forum of Community Radios (FORCOM), a civil society organization supporting the work of community radios in Mozambique. There are currently 60 community radios broadcasting C2C, JY2JY programmes throughout the country, covering around 70 per cent of the districts in which they are based. Radio programme production and dissemination is done in 23 different local languages and Portuguese and cover 75 per cent of the national territory.
The C2C programme has evolved to include JY2JY and Y2Y programmes. In 2007, Radio Mozambique's child-to-child program won the International Children's Day of Broadcasting Award for Radio Excellence in recognition of the central role of children in developing, producing and presenting programs.
An audience survey conducted by Radio Mozambique in 2008 showed that radio is a popular peer-to-peer educational approach, with 55 per cent of the children interviewed listening to the radio every day. Among the main reasons highlighted by children for listening to the child-to-child radio programmes are the educational/ informative nature of the programme and the quality of information received, demonstrating that the messages largely come across clearly. Over the years, the media programme format has proven to be a powerful tool to advocate and create awareness for participation of children in the country.
Nationwide, there are today over 1,410 active children and young participants who develop, produce and present radio and television programmes for and by children and young people. Using an entertainment-education approach, the programmes cover issues such as child abuse and violence against children, HIV and AIDS, health, education, environmental protection and entertainment related issues.
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