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Rwanda, 27 July 2016: “Breastfeeding helps all children to thrive and develop to their full potential.” – Itetero children’s radio programme; 5th episode on exclusive breastfeeding

By Jung Yuen Park

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
Denise with her daughter Deborah.

GIKOMERO, Gasabo District, 27 July 2016 – Denise Nyirabizimana is the mother of three children. Today she came to Gikomero Early Childhood Development and Family Centre to have an interview with Christine Uwizeye, a radio producer from Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), for the radio’s children’s programme.

Denise came with her newborn baby, Deborah. Christine asked Denise, “Your third child was born 10 days ago. Are you breastfeeding?” Denise answered, “Yes, I am. Nurses at the health centre told me how important it is to breastfeed babies. I breastfed my two older children, too.” “Exclusive breastfeeding is crucial for the baby’s development and also helps the baby to feel bonded to the mother. During breastfeeding, mothers need to have good rest and a balanced diet,” explained Christine. She encouraged Denise to continue with exclusive breastfeeding for Deborah for the first six months of her life.

With support from UNICEF and the IKEA Foundation, Radio Rwanda is running a weekly show for young children called Itetero, which began in October 2015. While listening to the programme, children can learn Rwandan cultural values while improving their cognitive, social, and physical development. They can also learn about positive behaviours through drama, songs, and stories.

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
Christine interviewing Denise.

Every Tuesday at 5:30PM, Itetero is aired on Radio Rwanda, with re-broadcasting on Thursdays at 6:30PM and Saturdays at 10:30AM. The RBA team works closely with UNICEF Rwanda and a Content Advisory Group to craft quality educational content for each episode. The programme has interviews and discussions from local communities as well as children's dramas featuring popular animals. Programs are produced with children and for children, all presented in Kinyarwanda.

Listeners are sending positive feedback from all corners of the country. A father from Nyamagabe District sent an SMS message to RBA saying, “The Itetero program is important for me, because when my child will start primary school, I am sure that it will not be hard for him. He has gained some important knowledge from Itetero such as numbers, letters, some songs, plays, and social interactions.”

Key messages are targeting both parents and young children. Messages in recent episodes include: avoid leaving children home alone or in the care of other children; the importance of talking to young children in order to stimulate their brain development; how to express feelings in polite words like ‘sorry’, ‘excuse me’, or ‘thank you.’

Today’s interview with Denise will be aired during the week of 1 August in time for World Breastfeeding Week.



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