Youth Radio Network
Giving children a voice
Community radio stations are providing a platform for youth to share their views.
Violence in schools and teenage pregnancy are issues directly affecting young people. But when topics like these receive media coverage, reporting is invariably from the adult perspective; children's voices are seldom heard.
UNICEF believes that allowing young people to speak about matters that are important to them is a key factor in putting children's rights into action. How they feel about the world they live in is both relevant and valuable. And, with children accounting for 37% of the South African population, their thoughts, opinions and experiences cannot and should not be ignored.
The response has been to partner with the Children’s Radio Foundation and the Department of Basic Education to give young people a voice in the media.
Community Radio Stations such as Greater Lebowakgomo FM in Limpopo Province now broadcast weekly radio shows researched, written and produced by young people, in which they share their views about what is happening in their community.
The children are taught how to interview, debate, create and structure stories - and then turn them into radio broadcasts. Listeners hear directly from youth about issues that matter to them, in a programme that brims with authentic, honest feeling.
Following the success of the pilot project at Greater Lebowakgoma FM, the model has been introduced in North West Province and will be scaled up to 12 sites nationwide in 2012.
“For the first time in my life, I feel I can express myself and really get out of my shell,” said 15 year old Mashoto Mphahlele, one of the young reporters-in training on the programme.
The broadcasts are also a way of showing other young people that they can talk about issues that are important to them - and adults will listen.
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It's about time we listened