Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Youth media crew captures community activism
by Vanessa Njovu and Michal Rahfaldt
Sixteen year-old Daniel Sichinga gathers a group of young Zambian Climate Ambassadors under a tree to record a radio talk show. He asks one of his guests, seventeen year-old Tendai Nyirenda, about climate change issues in her community. “Zambia is the second most deforested country in the world, and Livingstone is one of the cities that has been most affected,” says Tendai. “So as a climate ambassadors we have identified that problem and are coming up with possible solutions.”
Daniel and Tendai are delegates at UNICEF’s second Zambian Children’s Climate Conference (ZCCCII) held this week in Lusaka. More than 90 Zambian Climate Ambassadors – all under 18 years of age and from all of Zambia’s 9 provinces – are sharpening their advocacy skills and gaining new skills, including how to be HIV and AIDS peer educators.
Working with the Children’s Radio Foundation, sixteen of the young ZCCCII delegates form part of the press crew for the conference, and are reporting on the happenings of the event. Using audio recorders, video, cameras, and blogs, the young people are being trained to capture the experiences of climate change and HIV/AIDS of young Zambians and to document the efforts of their peers to make a difference in their local communities.
Organizing radio talk shows, conducting interviews, taking photos, writing feature articles on climate change, and filming the proceedings of the conference, the young reporters load their footage on to uniteforclimate.org, an online portal for youth climate change activism.
Fifteen year-old Lusaka resident Ceswa Mpandamabula is part of the press crew. He says that media is an essential tool in addressing the youth around important issues. “We’re living in a time where technology has taken over everything. But only young people in cities usually have access, and most areas are not developed. But radio is everywhere in the country, and it’s a great way to talk to a lot of people from all different situations.”
Ceswa conducted radio interviews with several of his peers, and found out about specific HIV/AIDS scenarios in various Zambian communities. “It was really great to do an interview,” he said. “When you get to interview someone, you’re learning from them. And it’s good to learn that the same message you’re hearing from someone, you’re also sharing with it many people on radio, so we’re all learning.”
The conference is focused on getting young people to develop climate change and HIV/AIDS advocacy campaigns to bring back to their community, and to groom young Zambian leaders as peer educators.
To hear some of the audio and see photos from the event, visit the Children’s Radio Foundation’s broadcast website: www.radioworkshop.org.