Sierra Leone: Fatmata, 13, discovers the advocacy power of photography
In the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – a landmark international agreement on the basic human rights of all children – UNICEF is featuring a series of stories about progress made and challenges that remain. Here is one of those stories.
Freetown, 10 November 2009 – Fatmata Shaw, 13, is an active member of the Children’s Forum Network (CFN) in Kabala, an agrarian community in northern Sierra Leone.
The CFN is an umbrella group of children in the country that was established in 2001 to advocate for children’s rights, protection and participation.
In many communities in Sierra Leone, children are not normally allowed to express themselves on any issue.
Giving children opportunities
"But with this training, I have not only learnt how to take good photographs but also how to upload them in the computer and do basic editing".
As a result of these trainings, UNICEF in collaboration with the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs is producing a photography booklet consisting of pictures taken by CFN members.
Photography as an advocacy tool
UNICEF, the Ministry and other organizations have been facilitating the activities of the CFN since its establishment in order to promote child
UNICEF is also supporting a children’s radio project, the Voice of Children and the production of a children’s newspaper, Pikin News (children’s news), that
"Given the opportunity, we can also make a difference, as our skills and potentials will be further realized". Fatmata said as she excitedly
Fatmata hopes to teach other children in her community the skills she had learnt so that they in turn will teach their counterparts in different communities.
"This training has changed my life! With the level of illiteracy in our communities pictures can tell the story much better than words. With my camera I hope to be able