Communication, protection and participation





Communication for development

© UNICEF Somalia/01-115-Taylor
A young girl browses through books in a library in Northwest Somalia (‘Somaliland’) in 2001. UNICEF is supporting libraries and resource centres with reading materials for the youth.

During the last decade, UNICEF experience has demonstrated that if people within communities can understand, communicate, and even demand their human rights, a more accountable environment of governance, economic opportunity and wider social stability becomes possible for all.

Starting at a grassroots level, this approach to communication has the opportunity to reach progressively higher, ultimately influencing those previously untouched "decision-makers". Meaningful community participation in social development programmes empowers the community while providing mechanisms for sustainability that support such development.

Limited capacity, characterized by scarcity of knowledge and skills among community members greatly undermines social development and meaningful involvement for everyone. Support for developing these capacities and accompanying structures needs to exist to create an environment that facilitates more effective participation of children, young people and women in the realization of their rights.

UNICEF supports an environment that guarantees the participation of children and women in social development programmes through:

  • raising awareness and mobilizing communities
  • developing capacity, and
  • strengthening partnerships among key allies and stakeholders

These three points are the main building blocks towards the establishment of a human rights culture in Somali society, and are the cornerstone of the strategy for the Communication for Development project.

Involving youth through broadcasting

The Youth Broadcasting Initiative, piloted by UNICEF, has focussed on youth groups in Northwest, Northeast and Central and Southern Somalia. The project seeks to empower youth to claim their human rights by expressing their concerns on issues that affect their welfare as a group, and as part of a wider community.

The initial phase of the project focused on technical skills training in radio and video broadcasting and creating access to the electronic media for 20 youth groups. The groups are now producing radio and video programmes that are being aired in Northwest, Northeast and Central and Southern Somalia. The programmes so far have covered issues selected by the youth themselves, such as the spread of HIV/AIDS, Female Genital Mutilation and other topics relevant to their daily lives.





Youth Broadcasting Initiative

Somali youth are fast becoming leaders in their society by giving voice to their concerns through radio and video. More than 200 youth groups have been formed throughout Somalia. Now, 20 of them are actively involved in production of radio and video programmes. More information in the attachment in Word below.

 Email this article

unite for children