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Timoun ak Medya


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PLAN Haiti

Contact details
Stefanie Conrad
Plan Haiti
3 Impasse Lily
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Tel: +509 510 9471; 558 5606
Email: comhti@planinternational-ht.org
Website: www.panosinst.org/radio

Project partners

Panos Institute
Radio Netherlands Training Centre




'Our Own Voice' was launched in March 2000 as a three-year project, jointly implemented by Plan, Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC) and the Panos Institute.

Our Own Voice is a component of a wider Plan programme entitled 'Child Rights and Participatory Media in Civil Society', which currently involves projects in El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Aims and objectives

The programme aims to provide children with the skills required for effective participation in community development activities, using creative media and creating opportunities for their increased positive presence in media. It also seeks to raise awareness among parents and children on children's rights and the value of children's participation in community development activities. Its objectives are:

• to empower child journalists to work up to their full potential;

• to build up a network of child journalists in Plan programme areas;

• to encourage media to include children's issues and perspectives in their programming by regularly providing them with relevant information;

• to establish solidarity between adult and child journalists;

• to demonstrate the benefits of having more children in media programming and to add to the information base on children's issues and perspectives;

• to disseminate widely the best of the results of the children's work in various media forms, throughout Haiti and internationally;

• to increase awareness on child rights at national and international level;

• to facilitate an exchange of experiences and views of children worldwide.


Five groups of child journalists in the north-east, west and south-east of Haiti; 250 children participating in listeners' clubs; 75 professional journalists in Haiti (and 250,000 children as readers of the magazine).

Wider beneficiaries

Parents and children.

Involvement of children

Young participants operate as journalists and are organized in clubs to provide feedback and develop local action on child rights issues.

Summary of project

In the framework of a regional Plan initiative and with the technical support of Radio Netherlands and the Panos Institute, PLAN-Haiti supports child journalists' groups in the north-east, west and south-east of the country.

In the north-east, two radio groups run by children have been established and a third group of children are in the process of establishing their journalistic activities. In the west, a children's video group has been set up and in the south-east photojournalism activities with children are under way. Youngsters have received training on child rights and radio, video, print and photojournalism. Radio children journalists broadcast their own programmes twice a week on a local radio station (Radio Gamma). Their programmes are transcribed and published by the Panos Institute (also on the web) for distribution to national and international media. Trips with young journalists provide reporting opportunities beyond their own communities.

The Panos website provides a forum for the international exchange of ideas, experiences, comment and information among child journalists and interested children's groups. It also helps child journalists with the wide dissemination of their media productions in Creole, English, French and Spanish. As such the website of Our Own Voice hopes to achieve:

• collaboration and partnerships in story production among child journalists across borders;

• the provision of information on child rights and children's issues to the media in Haiti, the Caribbean and Central America, as well as internationally.

Our Own Voice provides additional support to child journalists in the North-East Department of Haiti, through the following activities:

• trips for the child journalists to provide practical reporting opportunities, exposure to information and sources, interaction and contacts;

• training in writing techniques and computing;

• assistance in the production and dissemination of a children's magazine.


The Dutch National office of PLAN is the primary funder.

Additional support comes from individual donors.


Budget for the financial year 2002:

workshop and training for children and adults US$36,000;

children's magazine US$35,000;

website, children's events (excursions) and special US$39,000 awareness activities to media;

materials and equipment US$39,000;

journalist network (training and meetings) US$9,000;

staff US$20,000;

co-ordination meetings US$2,000.

TOTAL US$180,000

Strengths of project

Groups of child journalists in various local communities produce regular radio magazines, which are broadcast on local radio stations. This material is then made available on a website. Children are trained as reporters and supported to cover events of interest on community development issues or child rights. They also carry out awareness campaigns on child rights issues at local level and produce awareness material.


Adult attitudes towards child rights and children's participation at community level and amongst journalists were probably the greatest challenge of the project. In a society where most adults don't feel their rights are respected and where children are considered as ti bet (little animals), empowering children is a difficult task. However, the positive example of the children who participate, and the pride of their parents and relatives when they hear their children on the radio, have changed negative attitudes and contributed to a greater acceptance of children's rights and child participation.

In addition, care was taken to involve adults as much as possible in the programme in order to win their support and understanding of the activity.


Semi-structured interviews with the participating child journalists have revealed a reduction of violence in the home and direct environment of the children. Children are reported to have stopped beating their younger siblings and other children; parents have stopped or reduced physical violence against children and started to communicate more openly with them.

Experiences from PLAN's West African radio programme have contributed to the development of the Haitian radio programme. Being part of a regional radio project, experiences with other Central American countries are being shared to ensure institutional learning and improvement of these activities.

Lessons learned

• Developing an effective selection process for children participating in the initiative is crucial to making the project a success.

• Intensive training and constant interaction and exchange with children are needed in order to provide adequate support.

• The products (reports, radio magazines, publications) produced by children are the best tools to convince adults of children's ability.


The programme aims to have a positive impact on children and on adult awareness of children's rights and their acceptance of children as active players in their society. We expect that:

• adults will start to respect children's opinions;

• children will learn to express themselves better and develop self-respect as well as respect for others;

• young people will start to develop a more critical view of society and their own role as contributing members;

• a more open discussion will develop between adults and children and amongst young people.


Numerous examples demonstrate the impact of the project on the target audience. Children report on improved family relationships, reduced violence, and youth acting as facilitators for public events such as the Day of the Child. Plan staff have, on several occasions, overheard children talking about the radio programme and child rights on their way back from school. "I have rights too," is a sentence you now hear frequently from children in the communities involved.

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