Young Reporters’ Network
I never thought that one day I would become a reporter. I always knew reporters were adults and not children, because we don’t have the skills. But now I know that given the opportunity, we are able.” Wastara, 14, Dar es Salaam.
The Young Reporters Network is for children and young people. It aims to teach them new skills in handling and using radio equipment, radio reporting and producing radio programmes for children.
The programme also plans to increase young people’s active participation in the production of children’s programmes and develop their capacity to be advocates of child rights.
To date, 60 children have been trained in radio reporting in Moshi, Zanzibar (both Pemba and Unguja Islands), Ifakara and Dar es Salaam. The young reporters produce 30-minute fortnightly programmes which are being broadcast on the collaborating community radio stations.
The broadcasts are also shared through the Tanzania Community Radio Network – as free content – and every week one of the Young Reporters Network programmes gets broadcast on national radio, TBC Taifa. Tanzania has a special advantage as it has one unifying language, Kiswahili, spoken throughout the country. All the aired programmes are uploaded to www.soundcloud.com a site with free access to the public.
Why do we need a Young Reporters Network?
The voices of young people continue to remain silent in Tanzania even though they face significant challenges and obstacles to their well-being, growth and development. Child rights rarely feature in the mainstream media and if they do are usually tokenistic and from an adult’s perspective.
Young people seldom have the opportunity to influence or comment on the way their own stories are told. One cannot dispute the fact that given the right opportunity, young people do have a wealth of knowledge, experience and ideas that are unique to them, enabling them to offer key insights and perspectives on the issues that concern and affect them.
The power of radio
Using radio to communicate is an effective way of getting young people’s messages across to the general public, key decision-makers and the government.
Radio remains a critical option for youth empowerment for enabling young people’s voices to be heard all over Tanzania. It is the dominant mass communication channel and is estimated to reach about 70 percent of the population in Tanzania.
Who are the young reporters?
The young reporters include the most vulnerable and marginalized children in Tanzania; children who are infected or affected by HIV and AIDS, children living on the streets, children who face stigma, discrimination, hunger and violence.
These children seldom get the opportunity to speak out about their issues, concerns, interests nor do they get to share their ideas and experiences for the general public to hear. The Young Reporters Network gives them that rare opportunity.
What will the young reporters talk about?
The Young Reporters Network offers a unique opportunity for Tanzanian youth to share their concerns, hopes and aspirations, which can help to change ideas about child participation. The young reporters meet regularly to brainstorm themes and story ideas for their 30-minute programmes.
The programmes include audio diaries and commentaries, interviews and talk shows through which the young reporters share true stories about their lives, about living with HIV, about living on the streets, about neglect, and about child rights.
A unique partnership
UNICEF Tanzania has partnered with several local and international NGOs and community radio stations to establish the Young Reporters Network in the country.
Each collaborating NGO identifies and works with 15 young people aged between 13 and 17 years old to ensure they have a safe and supportive place to meet regularly to plan their programmes; they are safe and protected while reporting in the field; and have access to key decision-makers for their radio stories. Each NGO is allied with a local community radio station which provides 30 minutes of airtime every two weeks as well as guidance in story development and production.
UNICEF Tanzania is collaborating with ZAPHA+ (Zanzibar Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS), Mkombozi, Save the Children and Plan International; and Zenji FM, Radio Sauti ya Injili, Radio Tumaini, Pambazuko Radio and TBC Taifa.
The aim is to increase the number of participating local NGOs and community radio stations as well as young reporters to ensure that the network expands and children’s voices, especially those of the most disadvantaged children, are heard across the country.
To listen to the young reporters’ programmes visit: www.soundcloud.com