We use radio to amplify youth voices across Africa, giving them the skills and tools to speak about their lives
She’s a prolific youth radio reporter in Tanzania and has travelled to South Africa to report on the biggest conference on HIV/AIDS in Africa, ICASA. Sixteen year old Neema has just added a community radio conference in Ghana to her list of reporting assignments. She shares her excitement with us.
“I was inspired by seeing community radio stations from around the world come together at one meeting at the AMARC conference. I got to learn how much our communities rely on us as reporters, and our role in informing and educating them in order to bring about change and development in our communities. I have learnt different ways of improving our shows to make them more interesting and appealing to our listeners. For example I learnt how to make radio dramas that have a good sequence and flow and that highlight important issues in the community.
I am now also inspired and motivated to learn different languages now, like French and Spanish, because I realized Kiswahili and English are not always enough to communicate with everyone. I experienced this challenge at the conference and it made me really wish that I could speak some of the other common languages.
I also feel very lucky to already be a reporter at my young age. Many of those at the conference were older youth and adults, so I realize that it is a privilege to be a very young reporter. People seemed surprised. They were proud of me, and commended me for my work – which made me really happy!
What have you learnt from travelling outside of your own country?
Something else I’ve learnt from my trip to Ghana is that the people from there are friendly and very kind. They also respect and honour their culture. You’ll find a young person, of about 28 or 25 years old, can fluently speak his or her mother-tongue language, something that many Tanzania’s can’t do well. It’s only people from the village who can speak their mother-tongues in my country. The people of Ghana are very patriotic and enthusiastic about elections. If they feel that a government doesn’t perform well they peacefully vote it out and vote in a different one, without electoral violence. I think this shows their patriotism. It’s quite different from how it is my country with elections.
Neema with all the CRF young reporters and staff, after doing the canopy walk in the Kikum National Park in Ghana
Something else I learnt was from where we went to visit the heritage sites. I got to see major historic sites with my own two eyes – which is very different from when we are taught about them in class and can only imagine what they are like. I got to see them for myself! This gave me a deeper sense of understanding of what happened to Africans during the slave trade era – how they were brutalized and their belongings taken away by foreigners. All of that was because the foreigners were greedy and wanted a lot of wealth for themselves. I thank God that it is over now, but it did leave behind a history that we will always painfully remember.
After attending the conference I have been able to think even more broadly and to see things from a different perspective. I’m not just seeing things at face value, but thinking deeply and questioning more. For instance, why are things the way they are, and what can I do to make a difference?
I’m also a lot more confident! I stood before a big audience at the conference and spoke. I received a big applause even before I was finished with the first two points of my speech. This really motivated me and boosted my confidence to speak publicly and share what I think is meaningful and important. I also got to build my networks and make many new friends from different countries. I made new friends with fellow young reporters from other countries like Ivory Coast and South Africa, so for me, this is wonderful!
You can also listen to the audio commentary in Kiswahili.
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