December 19, 2006

RADIO / ICDB: West African children take to the airwaves to make their voices heard

West African children take to the airwaves to make their voices heard

By Patrick Slavin and Alusine Savage

Each December, UNICEF?s International Children?s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB)  involves young people worldwide in media programming and production, giving them a chance to express their opinions on major issues and develop new skills. Here is one in a series of stories about youth media.

MONROVIA, Liberia and FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 18 December 2006 ? This year?s ICDB on 10 December served as clarion call for broadcasters in Liberia and Sierra Leone to engage the voices of young people, providing them with a platform to air their views on reversing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

?Who?s doing the 8 o?clock news?? producer Sharon Vincent Avorkliyah shouted out to a hallway jam-packed with child broadcasters at the studios of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Radio.

?I am,? said Richie Kpadeh, 15, with his schoolbag tucked snugly around his shoulders.

With a handwritten script, Richie and eight other children kicked off a full day of children?s programming on UNMIL Radio. Their professional, one-hour newscast featured interviews with Liberia?s Ministers of Gender and Development, a former Minister of Education, the head of UNMIL?s HIV/AIDS Section and UNICEF Representative in Liberia Rozanne Chorlton.

In Liberia, ?a good day for the kids?

?This is exactly what the International Children?s Day of Broadcasting is all about ? the voices of children being heard,? said UNMIL Radio Chief Joseph Roberts-Mensah. ?We turn over our station every year to children, and they do everything from news, judging a talent show and preparing a quiz contest to producing, writing and acting in dramas.?

Almost 200 Liberian children took part in programming on the 2006 ICDB theme, UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS. ?And once again we want to thank UNICEF for its unflinching support and for helping to make ICDB a good day for the kids,? said Mr. Roberts-Mensah.


Chris Schuepp
Young People's Media Network - Coordinator
Youth Media Consulting GbR
c/o ECMC (European Centre for Media Competence)
Bergstr. 8 / 11th floor
D-45770 Marl - Germany
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