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Unity among Youth at Regional Intercultural Workshop for Adolescent Communicators

© UNICEF/Jesús Carrasco/2008
Youth media at work:. Children of the Latin America and the Caribbean happily discuss their audiovisual production on day one of the Youth Workshop.

By Nicole Murray and Leslyn Thompson

San Salvador, El Salvador, September 2, 2008 - Children of Latin America and the Caribbean are being provided the opportunity to make a difference in the way in which they are perceived after a ground-breaking meeting of adolescent communicators in El Salvador.  The four-day workshop, hosted by the UNICEF Office for Latin America and the Caribbean began on Monday September 1 in San Salvador with the aim of creating a regional intercultural network of adolescent communicators.

The purpose of the network is to allow the youth of the region to share their experiences, learn from each other while expressing their opinions to a wider audience and influencing public opinion outside of their countries.
The adolescents come from various backgrounds and cultures, and in many cases, speak different languages but they are determined to have a collective voice on youth issues.  Representing countries such as Bolivia, Barbados, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela, each participant gave the group an inside view of his or her country at a Multi-cultural Fair held on the first day of the workshop.

Andrea Bryan, one of the communicators from Guyana commented on her experience at the fair, “Wow, I didn’t know we had so much in common, we are all so different, yet we have found so many similarities”.

By the end of the second day, despite the use of interpreters, the young participants had found creative ways to communicate, including sign language and drawings and had created new friendships.

© UNICEF/Jesús Carrasco/2008
Lights, camera, action. Here a young journalist records the day’s proceedings.

The young communicators were divided into small groups according to their area of specialization, namely television, radio, press and photography. Each group published or produced a news item in less than sixty minutes according to their media focus presenting high standards of work. They all exhibited ability to use the technology required to complete the tasks in a timely manner.

“I am really happy and satisfied to see their ability, joy and spontaneity. What I have found is that they (the youth) are disciplined and hard working, something that adults do not expect,” commented Altercom workshop facilitator, Renato Joya,  expressing pleasure at the exuberance of the participants so far.

Mr. Joya encouraged other boys and girls to join the network in their country. “Do not be afraid. You will find a wonderful world of fun and opportunities, and you can contribute to a better community and a better world.”

According to the terms of reference developed for the network, “Children and adolescents who are part of the Regional Network should be recognized as actors who are able to develop communication messages whether, radio, audiovisual or through writing, advocating for their rights and involved in shaping their own future and that of the community. Only through direct participation can children develop a genuine appreciation of democracy and a sense of their own competence and responsibility to participate.”

The workshop ends on Thursday, September 4th with the youth communicators providing coverage for the 3rd Ibero American Forum on Local Governments in Sal Salvador.

For more information:
Ana Maria Ortiz, aortiz@unicef.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.


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