Young 'journalists' broadcast the Rights of the Child in Togo
Lomé, Togo, 20 November 2009 - "When we saw the UNICEF video on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), says Eyram, a 16 years old reporter from the NGO ‘the Planet is Ours’, we realized that if all children knew the CRC they would be able to express what they live through instead of being commanded by adults!" proclaims the young boy.
This is why these budding television journalists went to different schools in Lomé to interview children on CRC issues and sensitize them on child rights.
Founded and directed by Charles Adom, the non-governmental organization, ‘the Planet is Ours’ has 30 minutes of airtime every Sunday given over to the children by the Togolese national television channel (TVT) ever since 2004.
At first, the young people decided to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the UN CRC by producing a news story on the convention.
"But the majority of children don’t have a clue about the Convention and its content, Eyram says sadly, this is why we would like to sensitize people on the situation of children in Togo through our programme".
"Even though we have courses on civil education in primary school, we never speak about violence and exploitation" complains Emmanuelle, a 16 years old girl interviewed by the team.
"That’s true, Didier adds, enough is enough, we have to speak out loud!" he stresses.
"In order to tackle the lack of knowledge we decided to interview an exploited and abused child to inform a maximum of people through an individual story!" says Charles Adom, the head of the NGO. ( See ‘The Planet Is Ours’ video)
"But it is difficult for us to speak out loud when we witness abuse and violence on children" says Didier, the culture of silence is strong, "but we try to sensitize (children and adults) on Allo 111" he adds.
With the support of UNICEF and other partners, the Government of Togo launched a free child helpline (Allo 111) in early 2009.
The line allows callers to report on and address child rights violations in Lomé, the capital city.
The child helpline receives an average of 600 calls a day and approximately 700 cases of child exploitation and abuse have been reported and properly followed up, thanks to the project.
In Togo an estimated 29% of children from 5 to 14 years old are used for economic and domestic activities that are considered harmful to their development.
"Our message is simple: children have rights and the CRC has been created to defend our rights!" concludes Eyram enthusiastically.
By Hadrien Charles Bonnaud