African Youth Speak Out on Climate Change
Partnering with Unicef’s Unite for Climate initiative, the Children’s Radio Foundation is producing a series of podcasts of youth voices from Africa, talking about climate change and how it’s affecting their communities. The COP16 meeting of world leaders in Cancun, Mexico was the catalyst for this project, which features youth voices from Zambia, South Africa, and Kenya.
The most recent podcast comes from South Africa. Six young people aged 15-18 met during the week of November 17-19 to discuss what climate change means in their lives. All of the participants are members of the environmental clubs at their schools, and were keen to talk about issues around climate change and the environment.
Armed with microphones and recorders, the youth learned the basics of radio production, and recorded their thoughts on how they are trying to reduce their carbon footprints, what they would like their leaders to do about climate change, and if they think they can influence others to reduce their emissions. With their newfound journalistic tools, the participants roamed the halls of the Institute for Democracy in Africa (IDASA), where the workshop was held, empowered to engage with adults on a serious level about important issues.
“I was surprised that some people had difficulty explaining climate change. I mean, we know more than they do,” commented 16 year-old Thulisa Nyathela. Nyathela’s comment was echoed by her peers, who were uniformly amazed and amused to see that the confusion around climate change is not limited to young people.
In the end, a core issue that emerged from the workshop was that of the carbon footprint — knowing what it is and how one can take responsibility to reduce it. 16 year-olds Nkosinathi Madhosi and Thulisa Nyathela implemented a recycling program at their high school. Fifteen year-olds, Brandon Van Niekerk, Kimico Peterson, and Nadine Prince have helped to create a “food tunnel” at their school to promote home gardens and reducing carbon emissions around the food we consume. And 18 year-old Noloyiso Mthana, who has matriculated, personally collects the paper waste from her neighborhood in the township of Gugulethu, lugging four bags an hour’s journey by train and foot to the Oasis Recycling Center in another suburb of Cape Town every week. You can listen to her story about it here.
Following a debate on their ability to influence others to reduce their carbon footprints, the youth agreed that one must just do what one can, but that everyone should do something. “Nothing’s going to happen overnight, but if we do start somewhere, it’s going to lead to a change. So start by small things and see where it goes,” advised Kimico Peterson.
The South Africans’ peers in Zambia agreed. CRF held similar workshops in Lusaka and Mongu, Zambia, with youth who attended the Unicef-sponsored Zambian Children’s Climate Conference earlier this year. The podcast from Zambia was produced in mid-November. It featured an interview of 17-year old Kapambwe Chanda who speaks with passion and intelligence about the importance of getting youth involved and interested in climate change issues; a radio show in which young host Esther Kalenga discusses the significance of airing a radio show about climate change and environmental issues with her (adult) producer; and a letter from 15 year-old Luyando Katenda, urging world leaders at the COP16 meeting to work together responsibly. “We don’t hope to see the same results of COP15, because that does not help us at all, but only brings wasting of funds without coming up with good decisions,” Katenda said. Listen to his whole letter here.
A final workshop is being held in Kibera, outside Nairobi, Kenya during the second week of December with a group of young people organized through the community radio station, Pamoja FM.
Zambian youth journalists report on pressing community issues
The Children’s Radio Foundation recently carried out follow-up media training at UNICEF’s second Zambian Children’s Climate Conference, held recently in Lusaka. More than 90 Zambian Climate Ambassadors under 18 years of age from almost every province in the country attended the conference – and sharpened their advocacy skills.
Sixteen of the young conference delegates formed part of the press crew that reported on the Zambian Children’s Climate Conference. Using audio recorders, video, cameras and blogs, the young reporters were trained to capture the experiences of Zambian youth with issues such as climate change and HIV and AIDS.
Lusaka resident Ceswa Mpandamabula, 15, was part of the press crew. He said that media is an essential tool for youth to address important issues. “We’re living in a time where technology has taken over everything,” said Ceswa. “But only young people in cities usually have access, and most areas are not developed.”
To address this imbalance, media outlets such as radio – which are widely available and accessible – can help bring information to all people equally. “Radio is everywhere in the country, and it’s a great way to talk to a lot of people from all different situations,” said Ceswa.
As part of the Children’s Radio Foundation initiative, Ceswa conducted interviews with several of his peers and heard about specific climate change issues and community adaptation strategies.
“It was really great to do an interview,” he said. “When you get to interview someone, you’re learning from them. And you’re also sharing with it many people on the radio, so we’re all learning.”
The Zambian Children’s Climate Conference focused on getting young people to develop climate change and HIV and AIDS advocacy campaigns to take back to their home communities.
To hear some of the audio and see photos from the event, please visit the Children’s Radio Foundation’s broadcast site: www.radioworkshop.org.
For more information on the CRF’s work in Zambia, visit the feature story on unicef.org.
World Cup in My Village an Enormous Success—Press Release
12 July 2010
New York/Cape Town – Thousands of young people in the most remote areas in Rwanda and Zambia watched the 2010 FIFA World Cup games as the eyes of the world focused on their continent for the past four weeks.
As part of World Cup in My Village, UNICEF, the Children’s Radio Foundation and local partners set up public viewing areas in sandy football pitches, open fields, community schools and refugee settlements.
Inflatable air screens and satellite dishes made the seemingly impossible happen – showing the games in areas with limited or no access to electricity and broadcast connection.
As well as watching the games, World Cup in My Village used the power of football to communicate with young people and encourage them to make their voices heard. At half-time during the matches radio shows, produced by young people from the local community who were trained as journalists, were broadcast.
In radio and video workshops they learned interviewing techniques, expressing their opinion clearly and producing media pieces which were good enough to be shown to an audience of thousands of people. The youth-produced pieces were complemented by public service announcements on education, child rights, health and other pressing issues.
In Rwanda alone, 20,000 people who are living in isolated communities and are cut off from mainstream sources of information, made use of the public viewing areas in their communities.
“The success of this initiative has shown us that we are on the right track in our thinking”, said Mr.Gerrit Beger, who is leading UNICEF’s innovations drive. “The opportunities provided by social media and new technologies for our work are enormous. Tens of thousands of rural and marginalized children and young people have been reached with educational messaging and were able to enjoy the World Cup for the first time in their lives.”
In Zambia the screens were moved around each night and attracted a total of 12,000 viewers. The earlier viewings took place in community schools and then the project moved to a UNHCR refugee settlement eight hours away from Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, for the last week of screenings.
Many young people in Zambia, who were interviewed by the youth journalists, remarked that they had only ever heard football games on the radio and that it was the first time they had actually seen the players they had heard so much about.
“The primary highlight for me was seeing the confidence of the youth journalists as they took on leadership positions at the screenings and used the opportunity to speak about issues concerning them in their communities” says Michal Rahfaldt, Director of Programs at the Children’s Radio Foundation. Education, unemployment, HIV and AIDS, the environment and child rights were only a few topics that the young reporters addressed in their radio talk shows.
Now that the World Cup is over, the inflatable screens and projectors will be used by UNICEF Country Offices for future community activities. The project’s community partner in Rwanda, Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle, is discussing the possibility of starting a youth radio station based on the philosophy: ‘radio for young people, by young people’ with the core group of newly trained youth reporters.
In Zambia the young journalists have arranged to work with reporters at a local community radio station to create regular youth programming and to host a talk show for young people in their communities. Acting as peer leaders they are engaging young people from their communities in the program. Many of the young journalists have also taken on the role of climate ambassadors, advocating for responsible environmental behavior in their communities. Their new skills support them in their role as youth activists.
World Cup in My Village was created as a part of UNICEF’s support of the 1 Goal campaign, which aims at getting every child into primary school by 2015. The majority of media pieces produced by young people were about how education or the lack of it had affected their lives.
Through media training many young people learned how to express themselves better and found ways to participate in the discussions of their communities. Following the enormous success of the project UNICEF and the Children’s Radio Foundation are now exploring ways to replicate the concept in more countries and for more great sporting events to come.
For further information or to arrange for an interview please contact:
Janine Kandel, UNICEF, New York
Tel + 1 212 326 7684 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Valentine, Children’s Radio Foundation, Cape Town
Tel +27 21 465 6965 email@example.com
CRF Youth Journalists interviewed on Zambian radio station
8 July 2010
CRF-trained youth journalists Esther Kalenga (17), Tambudzai Mutale (17), Inonge Sitali (14), and Kezman Saboi (17) were guests on one of Zambia’s largest radio stations, Radio Liseli. The team were there to promote the screenings of world cup matches in Mongu, Zambia, and to speak about the media training program associated with World Cup in My Village, a project of CRF, UNICEF, and community partners.
Tambudzai Mutale: “During the matches we go around and interview people on the problems they are facing in their community.”
Radio Presenter: “And how is it good for the young people, especially those you are targeting in the village?”
Esther Kalenga: “It’s very good because we get to learn how they are living in the society, and we also get to teach them some things–some life skills, we get to learn how they handle themselves in their society, what they do, what they like and what they don’t like.”
Listen to the excerpt:
Kezman Saboi: “The main idea is to bring people together. The World Cup in My Village program brings people together to view the match. When they come together, we get the chance to know what they feel, or what they would like to express to the outside world about certain things that matter to them.”
Listen to the excerpt:
Or listen to the entire interview:
Live youth radio show at Gisenyi Stadium, Rwanda
24 June 2010
A flutter of nervous excitement rippled round the group of youth reporters on Tuesday in Gisenyi, Rwanda as half-time in the match approached.
The on-air team was prepped and ready. The running order was agreed. And “Youth Radio Forum” was about to go live. Instead of a transmitter, large speakers facing the main stand in the Gisenyi soccer stadium would deliver the broadcast.
The half-time whistle blew, the players on the inflatable screen left for the dressing rooms, and we were on!
The hosts of the show, Vestine Nziyandemye (20) and Zachee Tuyishime (17), took to the stage, while an announcement explained to the crowd that the World Cup in my Village screenings were part of an initiative to hear the voices of young people.
Behind the stage in the “control room” – a wooden lean-to draped with waterproofing – we were all set to launch the show’s signature tune. But then word came that in the excitement, the hosts had forgotten to wait for the signal and the show was underway.
The signature tune had been recorded the day before – a series of rhythmic handclaps and chanting composed by the reporters, calling people to listen to the voices of the youth. You can listen to it here:
After listening to opposing views on whether or not young Rwandans were excited about the World Cup being held in Africa for the first time the hosts introduced a pre-recorded interview with one of Rwanda’s best known football coaches who lives in Gisenyi. Gitiada Mungo is better known as “Vigoureux”, and is beloved countrywide for the quality of players he has contributed to the national team.
The hosts also warned the audience to listen carefully, as they’d be asking a question after the interview. The first correct answer would win a Children’s Radio Foundation t-shirt!
Vincent Hakorimana asked Vigoureux, what qualities he believes are important for a coach: “What I can tell them is to be dedicated, be willing to sacrifice, and be humble… In training one needs to sacrifice oneself, good performances are born out of personal determination,” he said.
The interview over, Vestine asked the audience this same question. The other members of the youth reporting team then set to work taking down the answers from children in the crowd who came running to the front. The radio show cut to a music break.
The final audio item was a panel discussion – prepared during the youth radio training workshop a week earlier. Salama Uwamahoro (20) hosted the debate between Vincent Hagumimana (21) and Therese Banamwana (20). The topic: does the quality of our school education equip children for life?
Both Vincent and Therese urged young people to acquire skills wherever they could. All children should attend school if possible, they said, but if they were forced to drop out for any reason, they should still be encouraged to gain skills and make a success of their lives.
And suddenly it was all over. The Youth Radio Forum concluded its first broadcast. All that remained was to announce the winner of the t-shirt, thank all the show’s contributors, bid the audience farewell and remind them that the team would be back on air soon with another Youth Radio Forum.
World Cup in My Village—Screen tests in Mongu, Zambia
23 June 2010
Today marks the beginning of World Cup in My Village broadcasts in Mongu, Zambia. Tests to the inflatable screen and the television signal were conducted last evening, while groups of young people looked on in excitement. A partnership between the Children’s Radio Foundation, UNICEF, and community organizations, the broadcasts of World Cup matches will take place for seven days in seven different sites across the Mongu region, in areas where there is little to no electricity or television service.
“I switched on the blower to the inflatable screen and there were cheers from the kids as the screen went up,” said the CRF’s George Githuma. “I bet this was the first time for most of them to see such a thing. We promised to screen the match today and I am sure they will be eagerly waiting for us.”
As part of World Cup in My Village, the CRF also trained groups of youth journalists to report on community issues. The youth journalists will hold live radio talk shows during the half-time of the World Cup matches in Lozi, the local language, and engage the area’s youth on pressing social concerns.
World Cup in My Village
11 June 2010
The Children’s Radio Foundation, in partnership with UNICEF, is providing access to coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2010 matches for young people in areas of Zambia and Rwanda where there is little or no electricity or broadcast service. The World Cup in My Village initiative brings large open-air screens and projectors to screen the matches in Mongu, Zambia and the Rubavu district of Rwanda.
In addition, the Children’s Radio Foundation trained groups of young people in each country as youth journalists. Using audio recorders, cameras, and flip video cameras, young people in Mongu, Zambia and Rubavu District in Rwanda have been given the tools and the skills to tell their own stories. The project gives them the opportunity to report on pressing issues affecting young people in their communities, and to share their experiences and concerns with the rest of the world. Their audio reports will be broadcast on local, national, and international radio stations, and additional media content will be posted on the our website and disseminated via other social media platforms.
See the article about World Cup in My Village on unicef.org for more information.