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Rwanda, July 2016: Itetero gives voices to young children to express themselves and enjoy

By Jung Yuen Park

GASABO and GICUMBI DISTRICTS, July 2016 – It is 10 o’clock in the morning and it is time for porridge. Here at the Gikomero Early Childhood Development and Family (ECD&F) centre in Gasabo district, Kigali City, all 117 children – 55 boys and 62 girls – enjoy eating porridge. There are four classes divided according to the age group. Today 15 children from 4 to 6 years joined the gathering with Christine.

Christine Uwizeye is a radio producer of the Itetero children’s programme, a flagship programme for children on Radio Rwanda. Itetero means children’s nurturing space in Kinyarwanda language.

Today the team visited the Gikomrero ECD&F centre to record about playing, singing and learning how to count numbers.

“What is the name of the game?” asks Christine about a popular children’s game, and children answer “Ikiraro” (Kinyarwanda word for a bridge in English). “Then can you show me how you play and sing, as well? We would like to record and share with other children,” she explains. Then children start playing and singing the song. “Ikiraro Ikiraro. We come together and pass down the bridge and we cross the bridge...”

“Now is the time to count numbers in Kinyarwanda. Who can tell me how to count chairs?” asks Christine and children answer with enthusiasm and start counting.

UNICEF Rwanda in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) and Imbuto Foundation started Itetero programme on Radio Rwanda since October 2015. While listening to Itetero, children learn Rwandan cultural values, improve their cognitive development while learning through plays and stories on positive behaviours.

Itetero programme is created with special effort of many people. A group of experts closely work with UNICEF and Radio Rwanda to select key topics and important messages for each weekly episode. The programme engages children in communities for recording including ECD&F centres to produce the programme together with children. A studio recording is organized every other week with child actors for animal and family drama. Many listeners – both the children and parents – like this new programme and find it fun and very useful.

“I am a mother of three children myself and one of them is 2 years old named Tessa. She likes singing songs from Itetero and listening to children’s voices. I encourage parents to listen to Itetero together with their children,” says Albertine Uwimana, UNICEF Partnerships Officer, one of the Itetero production team members.

“I enjoy producing Itetero Radio Program for children. It is very fun to work with children, they keep surprising me with their talents and ideas, especially when I go to field to record their voices, plays and songs,” says Christine.

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
Children are excited to participate in Itetero radio programme production.

Itetero programme season 2 started on 5th July this year. It is aired every Tuesday at 5:30PM on Radio Rwanda with re-broadcasting on Thursdays 6:30PM and Saturdays 10:30AM.

Itetero radio program is made up of child friendly segments including animal and family drama, children’s voices and play time, story-telling, number and letter of the day as well as expert interview, which provides parenting advice.



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