Icyerekezo Cyanjye (My vision)
by Nana A Garbrah-Aidoo C4D Manager and Team
May 2012: “Being a member of the Media Club has given me a lot of benefits. I have self confidence, I am open-minded and best of all I speak for the voiceless” says Amanda Uwase, 18 years old and a member of the Nyarutovu Media Club.
In a country that only a few years ago introduced English as the language of government business and instruction, Amanda is impressive as she expresses her views.
“In Rwanda, girls were not of value, they were seen as property, to work at home. Now they are free, they have the same roles as boys and can give their opinion and make their own decisions” she explains.
Amanda has been a member of the Media Club for two years and while awaiting her Form Six results, she and four other members of the club volunteer at the Musanze Community Radio.
They produce radio programmes, follow up news stories and write articles for Imvaho a Kinyarwanda language newspaper with national circulation.
Amanda and her colleagues produce two programmes Ubuzima (health or life) for the community and Icyerekezo cyanjye (my vision) a young magazine programme.
The vision of Regis Umurengezi, 19 years is clear. “I want to be a doctor for heart disease. I want to help people. In Rwanda, we don’t have many doctors for heart diseases, and around Rwanda we have many people suffering from diseases, but we don’t have doctors to treat them” he explains.
Days before the interview for this story, Regis had carried a news story about a local administrator who had embezzled funds belonging to a cooperative. Regis had followed up the story which had been very popular with listeners. He had also written a news report on the case for Imvaho.
For both Amanda and Regis, being in the Media Club has been beneficial. They love that they are making a difference in their community. “We are stars, our friends and even adults come to us to talk about issues we talk about on radio or write about.”
“ Parents should be friends with their children. I see what I am doing as bringing parents and children together, being the link between them so they can talk about issues,” states Amanda as her motivation for joining the Media Club.
Regis on his part was motivated by admiration for a Voice of America (VOA) presenter and his desire to make a difference in his community.
Jervis Karangwa, the Manager of Musanze Community Radio cannot hide his pride in his team. “We are lucky in Musanze, we have the best team. Before I had to edit for them, but this team is super. They have their own newspapers in their schools so they already have the basics.”
Karangwa explains that to ensure the safety of the children, they are transported from their schools and back. He adds that during vacations the children spend most of their time at the station and are a much-needed and valued resource.
The performance of the children on radio is evaluated through interviews with listeners in the markets and other public spaces at the weekends, which are reviewed during weekly planning and editorial meetings.
UNICEF Rwanda in partnership with the Rwanda Office of Information provides technical support to seven community radio stations and 25 secondary school-based Media Clubs across the country.
Members of the clubs are students between the ages of 15 and 19 years.