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A Child's Right to Media - South Africa


Children and Broadcasting
Foundation for Africa

Contact details

Ms. Firdoze Bulbulia, Chairperson
CBFA c/o 72 Keurboom Street
Atholl 2196
Gauteng, South Africa
Tel: +27 11 884 0366
Email: moments@icon.con.za

Project partners

URTNA Programme Exchange Centre in Nairobi
Afrika Cultural Centre, South Africa
Bush Radio, South Africa
Commonwealth Broadcasting Association
Department of Communications, South Africa
National Children's Rights Committee, South Africa
Prix Jeunesse International, Munich, Germany
Southern African Broadcasting Association


Africa-wide, with headquarters in South Africa.


After the first World Summit on Children & Television, in Australia in 1995, a southern African meeting was held in South Africa, which discussed the need to develop quality broadcasting for children. Children and Broadcasting Foundation for Africa (CBFA) began in 1995 as a lobby group concerned with children's broadcasting needs and rights. Its primary aim was to sensitize broadcasters and producers to the need for good quality television for children. The focus was on implementing the Africa Charter on Children and Broadcasting, and to develop greater awareness among African broadcasters of the needs of children.

CBFA also wanted to engage children in using video so they would be empowered to tell their own stories. As a result, the Foundation embarked on a programme to teach video production skills to a group of children.

The Third World Summit on Media for children in Greece, in March 2001, provided the opportunity to bring this vision to fruition, as UNICEF South Africa agreed to become involved in offering children real-life experience of video documentation. CBFA had already committed itself to taking a professional television crew to the summit, and seven children were invited to be part of the professional media team. This group participated in a two-day workshop before leaving for the summit.

Aims and objectives

• To ensure that children hear, see and express themselves, their languages and their life experiences through the electronic media, in order to affirm their sense of community, self and place.

• To empower and build capacity for children in all areas of media, particularly by providing: education about broadcasting; the opportunity to discuss issues around broadcasting and media and to determine their needs as African children; workshops on children's rights and media rights.


Children and Broadcasting Foundation for Africa. Participants are recruited from NGOs in the children and media sectors.

Target audience

Children aged 9-16, media professionals and broadcasters.

Wider beneficiaries:

Civil society and non-governmental and community-based organizations that deal with children's rights as well as children.

Involvement of children

Young people and adults address issues concerning broadcasting for children through: workshops, production, seminars, screenings and meetings. The children produce the programmes so they are involved in all phases, from research to post-production. The children attend workshops that are tailored to their needs. These include The Africa Charter on Children and Broadcasting and television production.

Summary of project

CBFA projects include:

• BMW-African Pen Pals series in collaboration with BMW Munich and Prix Jeunesse International - a 10-part video series featuring South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Tanzania and Kenya;

CBFA Third World Summit on Media for children - a series of six programmes produced by the CBFA child media team. The contents include: child participation versus adult participation; Internet access; and interviews with Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund and Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, Minister of Communications for South Africa;

• Pan-African Conference on the Future of Children (Cairo, Egypt) - a series of programmes produced by the CBFA child media team focusing on subjects such as child soldiers, the girl child, leadership in Africa, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and IT & Education;

• workshops on Children and Broadcasting with a focus on good-quality programming for African children;

• a 20-minute documentary programme produced for the International Children's Day of Broadcasting.


As well as those mentioned above, other partners include UNICEF South Africa and UNICEF East and Southern Africa.


This project is self-funded via workshops and conferences. It also receives support from UNICEF South Africa and East and Southern Africa (for a special project in Cairo), Prix Jeunesse and the Department of Communications, South Africa.


Not currently available.

Strengths of project

Workshop participants are able to take the project back to their home countries where they participate and plan workshops using CBFA material and techniques.


The greatest challenge is the funding of the projects.


The full impact on the target audience has not yet been evaluated, however, viewer response has been: "Great!"

Lessons learned

• Funding is very important, but more important is passion for the work.

• Children have depths that adults cannot understand.

• Children are resilient and can make adults see things differently.

• Allow the children to lead the process and listen to them.

• Challenge the children so that they see new ways of doing things and stay focused.

• Children work better with each other and learn from each other. They also enjoy seeing their own peers as the protagonists.

• Don't over-indulge or over-compensate. Children are very sharp and will see through condescending approaches.

• Be honest with the children, allow them to explore and learn.

• Allow the children to use their own language and respect their cultural diversity.

• There is tremendous goodwill but also a lot of jealousy.

• Your project always receives more acclaim internationally than domestically.

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