Promoting children's participation through child-to-child media programmes
Maputo, December 2009 – Every Saturday morning, thousands of school-age children across Mozambique turn on the radio to listen to Paulo Manjate, 16, a young presenter on national public radio.
"Good morning to everyone, we welcome you to today’s edition of the ‘happy class’ programme, says Paulo, kicking off the nation-wide live child-to-child radio programme from Radio Mozambique’s studio in Maputo.
For about an hour, the young listeners across the country have the chance to participate in contests, listen to their favourite music, and receive advice on matters that concern them from other young people like them, who share the same interests and challenges. This is their moment to exercise their right to participation and information for a large audience.
"Our programme is important because it allows us to communicate with other children about our rights," explains Paulo.
What makes the programme even more popular among children is that it is not only an in-studio programme; regularly, Paulo and his production team – made up of adolescents like him – get into the mobile studio vehicle with microphones in hand to meet their peers wherever they are.
"Many times we do live programmes from schools, fairs, streets and communities – wherever we find a group of children and adolescents with whom we can interact," says Paulo.
When the programme ends, at around noon, Paulo returns to his daily routine at home with his family, and with his neighbourhood friends, where he gets his inspiration for the next radio programme.
UNICEF has supported the child-to-child radio programmes at Radio Mozambique since February 2000. Radio Mozambique currently has 34 of these programmes broadcast across the country – 23 of them in local languages and 11 in Portuguese. The topics discussed during the programmes include child abuse and violence against children, HIV and AIDS, health, education, environmental protection and entertainment related issues.
The child-to-child radio programmes involve over 1000 children and young people who interact with thousands of children across the country. The network has been expanding rapidly over the past couple of years, and in 2005, the child-to-child radio programme was expanded with the integration of the Mozambican Community Radio Forum, FORCOM.
Since then, the number of new community radios broadcasting child-to-child programmes has been gradually increasing every year. Currently there are 50 community radios broadcasting child-to-child programmes throughout the country. UNESCO, another key partner, is complementing UNICEF by supporting FORCOM community radios in content production and training of radio producers for quality programme production.
In 2007, Radio Mozambique's child-to-child programme won the International Children's Day of Broadcasting Award for Radio Excellence in recognition of the central role that children have in developing, producing and presenting programmes.