January 19, 2009

ARTICLES / RADIO / PROJECTS: SWAZILAND: Radio powered by children

 SWAZILAND: Radio powered by children

MBABANE, 16 January 2009 (IRIN) - People are calling Swaziland's first children's radio programme "Ses'khona", which literally means, "We're here", but in the SiSwati language it implies the arrival of a group that intends to stay and be heard.

Beginning in February, Swazi children will be able to tune in to hear their contemporaries report the news, entertain them and discuss issues that matter to pre-adult listeners.

"This is peer-to-peer communications in its purest form. We were looking to support meaningful child participation in programmes involving children," said Nonhlanhla Hleta-Nkambule, communications officer at the Swaziland office of the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.

The programme is an outgrowth of "Super Buddies", a children's magazine launched in 2003 with UNICEF backing, which uses child actors in photo stories to address child welfare issues. Like the new radio programme, Super Buddies is written and, in some instances, photographed by children.

The magazine is the country's only publication aimed at children and has spawned a string of clubs where activities are carried out and discussions held on topics such as HIV/AIDS, teenage sex and pregnancy, peer pressure, bullying, education, abuse, family problems, friendship, poverty and love, which will also feature in the radio show.

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