The Youth Radio Awards – for South African community stations run by youngsters – were fittingly held in Cape Town on Youth Day.
The awards, hosted by the Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF), are aimed at recognising the effort, passion and determination of young reporters at community radio stations across the country and using stations such as SAfm helps reach a wide range of audience.
“National Youth Day is a perfect opportunity to highlight the right of children to be heard – and listened to” said Unicef chief of communication and partnerships Thierry Delvigne-Jean. “By recognising the talent and hard work of these young reporters we value their contribution to society.”
With these awards the youngsters received acknowledgement for Best Show (Cracking It – Kurara FM), Best Presenter (Waatz Up Show – Valtaar FM), Best Jingle (What’s Up, Raise Your Voice – Emalahleni FM), Best Feature (Boom Talk – Greater Lebowakgomo FM), and Best Site (Tswa Daar! – Moutse Community Radio).
“South Africans tend to have a very negative perception of our children and young people,” said Children Radio Foundation assistant director Nina Callaghan at the Ceremony. “But these young reporters are very brave to express who they are, to bring us stories from their communities.”
GIVING CHILDREN A VOICE
Partnering with Unicef and the Department of Basic Education, the CRF established the Young Reporters Network in 2012.
Children constitute close to 40% of South Africa’s population, yet their voices are seldom heard. The Young Reporters Network gives children and young people a platform from which their voices can be heard, allowing them to speak on behalf of other youth in South Africa facing similar challenges.
The reporters take on issues like health, HIV/Aids, the environment, and education. They interview their peers and community members, host debates, and broadcast weekly live shows on radio in their local languages.
The initiative offers a unique opportunity for South African youth to foster a nuanced dialogue about community-specific issues, to tackle them in a youth-friendly manner, and to encourage positive behaviour.
The CRF uses radio as means to get communities discussing important local issues. The CRF was established in 2006 and trains youth radio reporters in five countries in Africa: Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and South Africa.
The foundation helps the youth connect with each other by using radio as a platform for them to share their thoughts and experiences on social issues in their communities along with future interests and what they are passionate about.
They have come to team up with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) an international organisation that provides medical assistance for people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters.
A radio project in Khayelitsha, Cape Town CRF, and MSF’s social services unit have youth facilitators, and peer educators rolling out a radio dialogue for young people living with HIV. The MSF’s children’s group and youth groups at Khayelitsha’s Site B Ubuntu clinic, the project gives young people and their caregivers the space to speak about what is happening in their lives, to share their experiences, and to learn from others.
According to Child Gauge, the Children’s Institute aims to harness the collective academic capability at UCT to promote enquiry, to build capacity through teaching and training, and to present evidence to guide the development of policies, laws and interventions for children, in 2010 only 2% of news stories heard children’s voices.
In Brooklyn, Chest Hospital (Cape Town), the CRF and the Institute are now training young patients at in a care facility for tuberculosis (TB). CRF-trained patients at the hospital record stories about having to be away from home for many months during their treatment, and the difficulties of taking a strict regimen of medication every day.
The youth are not simply characters to be used to substantiate news. They experience many issues featured in the media and fill diverse roles in their communities offering valuable perspectives and experiences. It’s about time we listened.
For more information please visit the Children’s Radio Foundation.