NEW YORK, 25 February 2004 ? In Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, young people are starting to take over the airwaves. Their mission: To educate their peers, their parents, neighbours and decision-makers through a new youth-produced TV programme, ?Kids? Crossroads?.
?Kids? Crossroads? is a hands-on project that teaches young people how to address the issues that matter to them through television. The project lets teens produce their own TV programming covering topics ranging from conflict resolution and prevention to social inclusion and health issues. Through the medium of television, adolescents can share with their peers across the region the common challenges of growing up.
Each ?Kids? Crossroads? programme features teen-produced clips on healthy lifestyles, a news segment and segment about a current issue, investigated by young reporters from any or all of the three participating countries.
?This enables the young audience in each country to see the similarities and differences within the Caucasus,? says UNICEF Communication Officer Maya Kurtsikidze. ?The goal of the programme is to create an unprecedented exchange of views between the adolescents in our region.?
Living in a region with political and economic difficulties, newly trained 15-year-old Georgian journalist Nana Kalandarishvili from Tbisili and her friends in Armenia and Azerbaijan felt that it is important to have a platform allowing them to speak out. ?I have learned a lot through the project already. We have so much to tell to our peers,? says 16-year-old Nick Kvrivishvili, a reporter for the show. ?What we have to tell them is something nobody has ever told them before. Regardless of where we are from, we understand each other better.?
Launched in 2004, ?Kids? Crossroads? is a three-year initiative implemented with financial support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Internews Georgia and UNICEF. The first programmes with young people?s news and views are now being broadcast, reaching a potential audience of up to 5 million people.
The participants, all of whom are between 14 and 18 years old, have received training in video production. The process has been a real eye-opener for most. ?I have never thought that learning could be so interesting. Now I feel that I can express myself and it is so wonderful,? says Nana Kalandarishvili.
?Kids? Crossroads? is a descendent of the regionally renowned programme ?TV Crossroads?, which has become a household name in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. A ground-breaking cross-border project, ?TV Crossroads? has been running since 1998. Independent TV journalists work together on a weekly 30-minute show, produced and broadcast in all three countries.
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