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Children’s rights, an important topic to be broadcasted on air

UNICEF Mozambique
© UNICEF Mozambique/2012/C.Bach
Pedro and Milena are both young students attending the radio training led by Mr. Tezinho Njanje.

Changara, TETE, 7 November 2012 – Pedro Junior is only 13 years old but already well known in Changara, people from the small village greet him when they see him in the local shop. “People I don’t recognize know who I am, they want to say hello and talk because they have heard me speak on the radio,” he says.

Changara is a village in Tete province in Mozambique. The district is one of the poorest in the country and struggles with poverty, drought and various social issues. It is very hard to find a television set in Changara but most families have access to a radio receiver which is the main source of information for many rural communities. The sound of a radio can always be heard in a distance.

Tezinho Njanje is one of the main presenters at Changara community radio, he is also a teacher at the nearby school EPC Changara Sede. That is where he finds young, engaged students. “When I have a student that I notice is especially well spoken, I ask them if they would like to participate in the community radio,” he says. “It is a challenging and interesting task that stimulates the students to learn more and use their abilities”.

The radio operates daily from six o’clock in the morning until eight pm, and broadcasts various programmes focusing on health, education and development, both in the local language and in Portuguese. According to a weekly schedule, the radio also broadcasts children’s hours, literature shows and various programs focusing on culture and music. “We have a responsibility to both entertain and inform the community. They listen to us because we fulfill that, also, the radio is the best way to talk about current issues and educate,” Mr. Tezinho explains.

The Participatory Child Rights Media Network (PCRMN) compromised of Child to Child and Junior Youth to Junior Youth media programmes provides Mozambican children with a voice in the media.  The network aims to stimulate the engagement and participation of children and young people by providing them with a platform to express their opinions and discuss issues that directly affect them.  With UNICEF support, PCRMN enables children and young people in Changara to be involved in the development, production and presentation of radio programmes. The involvement of the children makes Changara community radio a very popular family activity.

“I was listening to the radio with my father when I heard the children’s program for the first time. They were talking about sexual abuse against children and I think that it’s a very important topic, so I told my father that I also would like to speak in the radio, he agreed,” says Milena Luis, 11 years old.

UNICEF Mozambique
© UNICEF Mozambique/2012/C.Bach
Pedro Junior enjoys speaking on the radio. He believes that raising important topics such as child abuse might educate parents not to beat their children.

Milena attends Mr. Tezinho’s radio class and the teacher had already planned asking the girl to join the radio when she approached him. “Milena is a courageous girl who always will say what she thinks, that’s a very good quality for speaking in the radio,” he says.

Milena has just started the radio training and will be speaking in the children’s hour twice weekly, she has already had the opportunity to try it out. “We talk about children’s rights and about how important it is to go to school. We also talk about domestic violence and about how to take care of our health and how to be respectful to the elderly and help our parents at home. We explain things that we think are important for the children in the community and their parents to know. I learn a lot just by being in the radio”.

Pedro Junior also participates in the radio training, he has been with the radio for one year already and believes that he might have an influence on the community “I know that many parents here beat their children. I hope that by explaining to the children on the radio that this is not right, maybe they can explain to their parents that they are not allowed to hit them. Families listen together, so I think I am reaching some of the parents as well and I think it’s good that this message is delivered to both parts at the same time. Maybe they will understand how important this is - I hope they will”.



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