Coordinator of the child-to-child radio programme inspires new generation of young journalists
Nampula province, October 2010 – Lúcia Máquina, 24 years, is proud to be a role model for the dozens of children who have learnt with her how to produce and present radio programmes. For about a decade this young, dynamic and extroverted woman has been collaborating with the Radio Mozambique children’s programme in Nampula. Over the years she has accumulated responsibilities and professional experience until becoming what she is today: Coordinator of the children’s programme.
When we reached the sixth floor of the splendid Radio Mozambique building in Nampula, Lucia was already there, waiting with the youngsters of the programme, eager to receive us and share their experiences and achievements. Some have been active in radio journalism for just two months, others for more than a year. They are junior reporters, radio presenters and sound operators. They are indeed young journalists, but with the great task of giving voice to the children of Nampula in matters which concern them. Lucia was also their age when she began her career in the radio.
“I was just 14 years old when I was interviewed by the Radio Mozambique children’s programme to speak about the Teachers’ Day celebrations. I was a member of the Children’s Parliament in the province and a candidate for Provincial Speaker of the Children’s Parliament”, recalls Lúcia.
“I spoke so well at the microphone that I was invited to present part of the children’s programme a week later. The programme coordinator, Lenita Fonseca, told me that I was a natural communicator, that I knew how to speak fearlessly. That encouraged me!”
These were the first steps in a life that Lúcia had never previously imagined. Three weeks later she had the idea of setting up her own space in the children’s programme to speak about professions. For this debate she invited adults with professional experience, and children eager to be informed about the matter. Despite her young age, Lúcia was even able to interview confidently the Mayor of Nampula.
The popularity and quality of her programme led to the selection of Lúcia, a few months later, to participate in a training course at the Radio Mozambique headquarters in Maputo, on child-to-child radio production techniques. That experience was the start of a career she does not want to give up. As she advanced, she could even expand to other areas such as the presentation of cultural programmes, when she was still only 16 years old.
“I learnt many things at that time. I came to understand all aspects of programme production”, she explains. She is grateful to the radio professionals who helped her, particularly the journalist Luísa Meneses, her first teacher at the radio school.
At the age of 20, Lúcia took over the coordination of the Radio Mozambique children’s programme in Nampula, which has given her the opportunity to transmit all her radio experience to other children.
In November this year, the children’s programme will be 24 years old, the same age as Lúcia, which makes her feel very proud. Looking at how the programme has developed since her adolescence, Lúcia can quickly identify improvements, particularly with the introduction of the children-for-children approach.
“About ten years ago, we were still using analog equipment, such as reels, and the adults who were coordinating the programme had a central role in production and editing. Today the digital equipment allows the children themselves to be involved and to deal with planning, producing, editing and presenting the programme. This makes it more participatory”, explains Lúcia.
The Radio Mozambique children’s programme in Nampula, which involves about 30 children in its production and presentation, is part of the Network of Radio and Television Programmes by children for children supported by UNICEF in Mozambique. The programme is broadcast every day in Portuguese and in the local language, and deals with a range of themes, such as children’s rights, health, nutrition, hygiene, water and sanitation, geography, music and history.
Lúcia says that, in addition to coordinating the radio programme, at night she attends a degree course in Human Resource Management and Marketing. Although this may seem to have nothing to do with the radio programme, she soon explains her plans:
“The subject that I most like in the course is on communication, and my greatest dream is to found a radio management school”, Lucia says, her eyes shining with hope, happy that she can both study and continue working, an opportunity that many people in her generation do not enjoy.