In Niger, Kids Take Over on #WorldChildrensDay
Ahead of World Children’s Day, children took over high-visibility roles in media to shine a spotlight on the most pressing challenges faced by children.
NIAMEY (Niger), November 19, 2018- 18-year-old Adolphe Sagbo looks like a shy, soft-spoken teenager. But beneath the surface of Sagbo’s calm demeanor there’s an abundance of thought and activity churning away. Today Sagbo is leading a team of adolescents’ girls, who will take over the roles of journalists. She made an appointment and set up an interview with Felicite Tchibindat, UNICEF Representative in Niger.
“Children in Niger still face challenges, but we don’t have a voice on the stage. That’s why today, World Children’s Day, we spoke out through media in solidarity with the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children in the country” says Sagbo. “Being a young journalist today offers me the opportunity to express myself, particularly around the problems that are specific to my community.”
On World Children’s Day, UNICEF partners with national and regional-based media outlets to support children raise their voice on issues affecting them. From Niamey to Zinder and from Maradi to Agadez, children will be taking over key roles in media to voice their support for their peers who are still deprived from their basic rights. The mass media is an important channel for children's voices to be heard.
“Our goal is to give children a voice. We want to help develop a generation of young people who are not afraid to ask questions, think critically and participate in debates and conversations that are happening around them that concern them and their rights as children” says Lawan Mani, editor-in-chief of the Niamey-based media Tambara.
UNICEF believes that high quality media content and public debate that is inclusive of child voices, can contribute to wider efforts to improve the environment for protecting and promoting the rights of children in Niger.
“Today is a day for children to advocate for their rights, what they want and how it should be done. Nobody can be a better advocate for issues concerning children except themselves. They should draw their own future. Don’t let adults off the hook, keep raising your voices” says Felicite Tchibindat.
“It is our duty to listen to children and recommit ourselves to the goal of seeing every child in school and learning, safe from harm and able to fulfill their potential” she added.
Niger has made significant progress in advancing children’s and women’s rights over the past years. Today, babies and young children in Niger are less likely to die of pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and other common childhood conditions than in the past. Being able to go to school is now a reality for many more children in Niger than it was close to 20 years ago.
Niger continues however to face simultaneous emergencies that are stretching the capacities of the government and humanitarian partners to respond adequately. Children in Niger face malnutrition, recurrent disease epidemics and outbreaks, cyclical floods, drought and displacement. The situation is exacerbated by instability in neighboring countries, resulting in an influx of thousands of refugees, returnees and migrants, all needing access to basic social services for survival.
Before closing the interview with the UNICEF representative, Sagbo, our young journalist, raised an important question that intrigues all of us. "How To Make Every Day World Children's Day?" she asked.