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Schoolchildren in Mozambique pick up radio skills as they learn about their rights

Child-to-child radio programme

By Sabine Dolan

CHIBUTO, Mozambique, 18 November 2010 – Raissa, 12, is a radio reporter and one of the young hosts of a weekly programme called ‘Voices of Youth’ in Mozambique’s Chibuto district.

VIDEO: Learn more about Raissa, 12, a radio producer for weekly children’s programme ‘Voices of Youth’ in Mozambique.  Watch in RealPlayer


Raissa, who lives with her grandmother and her nine-year-old sister Mariana, misses her parents very much since they moved to South Africa over a year and a half ago to support the family. The seventh-grader takes her radio work very seriously. On her most recent assignment, she was asked to report on Bairro 3, the child-friendly school she attends.

In countries such as Mozambique that have been affected by poverty, food insecurity and the impact of AIDS, UNICEF’s child-friendly schools provide basic services to children. The schools aim to improve the quality of education and provide a positive and healthy environment for children through teacher training, safe water and sanitation, basic health checks, better classrooms and school supplies.

Child-friendly schools also promote girls’ education, tolerance, personal empowerment as well as inclusiveness – especially for vulnerable or stigmatized children.

Teaching child rights

After recording interviews with a few classmates and the school director, Raissa interviewed one of her teachers, Prof. Cremildo Alfredo.

© UNICEF Mozambique/2010/Delvigne-Jean
Raissa, 12, a radio reporter and one of the hosts of a weekly programme called 'Voices of Youth' in Mozambique's Chibuto district, conducts an interview about child rights with her teacher, Prof. Cremildo Alfredo.

“Professor, what would you say to children who don’t know how to read or write and who don’t know their rights, and what about those who don’t like to go to school?” she asked.

“Well, it’s our responsibility as teachers to teach them, to teach all children who don’t know how to read and who don’t know their rights,” Prof. Alfredo replied, but Raissa had to ask him again about the children who don’t like to attend school.

Coping with success

Significant progress has been made over the past decade in Mozambique’s school enrolment and attendance rates. Today, 81 per cent of primary school-age children are attending classes.

© UNICEF Mozambique/2010/Delvigne-Jean
A class in the child-friendly Bairro 3 primary school in Mozambique's Chibuto district.

However schools are struggling to cope with the increased number of children entering the system each year.
Quality of education is one area that has particularly suffered from the rapid increase in enrolment. As a result, school completion rates remain low. To respond to these challenges, child-friendly schools have focused on meeting minimum school-quality standards and providing child-centred learning environments for several hundred thousand students in 750 schools.

Child-to-child radio

Back at the Bairro 3 School, Raissa, listened attentively to her classmates and teachers talking about the progress made in the school since it became child-friendly more than two years ago.

© UNICEF Mozambique/2010/Delvigne-Jean
Raissa, 12, and her classmate Hivaldo during a recording session at the Chibuto Community Radio studio for their 'Voices of Youth' radio show in Mozambique.

The child-to-child radio programme in which Raissa is a participant complements other social mobilization activities carried out in the scope of the child-friendly schools initiative – such as school theatre groups and mobile multimedia units. The objective is simple: to ensure that local communities understand the importance of sending their children to school.

The programme is the voice of Mozambican children in the local media. It ensures that children are involved in the development, production and presentation of the ‘Voices of Youth’ radio show. It also allows young participants like Raissa to express themselves on issues that affect them, learn about their rights and share their experience with other children.

A range of issues

Using an entertainment-education approach, ‘Voices of Youth’ also covers issues such as child abuse and violence against children, HIV and AIDS, health, education and environmental protection. UNICEF began supporting the child-to-child radio programme in 2000 in partnership with the national public broadcaster, Radio Mozambique, which now has 34 child-to-child shows across the country.

Nationwide, there are over 1,100 active children and young participants who develop, produce and present radio and television programmes for and by children.

After a few hours on the job, Raissa is satisfied with her interviews and looks forward to editing the segment at the Chibuto Community Radio studio. She says she wants to become a journalist one day and travel in different countries. But in the meantime, she still likes to play with her dolls and study to get good grades at Bairro 3 primary school.



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