Mozambican children share their media experience with the world
Maputo 4 April 2007- On the morning of 24 March, when Tânia de Abreu (16), Paulo Manjate (14), Amélia Maisha Tunzine (Maisha) and Abílio Matusse Júnior (both 15) arrived at the Sandton Conference Centre, in South Africa, a new experience began in their lives. About 300 children from across the world came together in that centre with media professionals, academics, regulators and policy makers to take part, from 24 to 28 March, in the 5th World Summit on Media for Children: “An instrument for global peace and democracy”.
The event was organised by the World Summit on Media For Children Foundation, set up in 1995, in Australia, on the occasion of the First World Summit. Since then four world summits have been held. The second was in London in 1998, the third in Greece in 2001, and the fourth in Brazil in 2004.
This year’s summit in Johannesburg gathered representatives from about 90 countries to draw attention to the importance of promoting children’s participation, particularly through the production and presentation of their own radio and television programmes.
This summit was also an opportunity to inform the global audience of the growing participation of Mozambican children in the local media, with the support of UNICEF. Maisha and Paulo, who are both producers and presenters of children’s programmes on Radio Mozambique, were invited to sit on the main panel and speak of their experience.
With much pride and enthusiasm, they shared with the vast audience the fact that Radio Mozambique broadcasts 34 programmes made by and for children throughout the country – 23 of them in local languages, and 11 in Portuguese. More than 200 children take part in these programmes, and over 60 per cent are girls aged between 8 and 18.
“For us, this opportunity to show that in Mozambique there are children who communicate with other children through radio, and exchange messages important for their lives, is very important” said Maisha.
While the summit plenary sessions were under way, a global forum of children was also taking place. This was a parallel occasion set up by the organisers so that the children could discuss among themselves the matters that affect them. Paulo and Maisha also had occasion to share their work on the radio in this forum.
“It was a very good experience because I heard many stories which showed us that in the end most of us have the same problems”, said Tânia. “I came to know that children in other countries, in their radio and television programmes, also deal with the same things as we do in Mozambique, such as violence and HIV/AIDS”.
During the summit, specialist workshops were also organized for the children where they could learn various technical and production skills allowing them to better produce their radio and television programmes.
“I learned how to use a new programme to work with sound, which is more advanced and better than what had been used at the radio in Maputo” said Abílio.
Paulo was also very excited with the new material that could be learnt from the summit workshops. “I learnt how to use new technologies to make radio programmes. I’m going to apply in Mozambique everything that I have learnt here”.
Asked how her participation in the world summit will benefit other Mozambican children, Tânia promptly replied: “I’m the presenter of a children’s programme. Since many Mozambican children listen to the programme, I can encourage them to fight for their rights. Many of them are going to want to follow my example.”
UNICEF has supported the participation of two of the children in the Mozambican delegation to the summit, as well as a television team and an official from Mozambican Television.
UNICEF thinks it fundamental to promote the right of children to participate and to enjoy freedom of expression. In Mozambique, UNICEF has been supporting the radio programmes by children for children, produced by Radio Mozambique, since February 2000. The topic discussed during the programmes include child abuse, and violence against children, HIV and AIDS, questions of health, education, environmental protection and entertainment.
In 2004, the project was taken to television, also with UNICEF support. Since then the programme “Roda Viva” (“Live Wheel”) has been broadcast in all provinces of the country. In 2005, Mozambique’s National Community Radio Forum (FORCOM) began to involve itself in these programmes of child-to-child communication; three of these programmes are also being broadcast over community radios across the country.