STAFF PERSON PROFILE: Assistant Director, Nina Callaghan | Children's Radio Foundation

We use radio to amplify youth voices across Africa, giving them the skills and tools to speak about their lives

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Nina, Assistant Director of CRF

NAME
Nina Callaghan

LOCATION
Cape Town

Nina is the Assistant Director at CRF administering the SA board, local partnerships, is a youth media trainer and producer for CRF’s weekly radio show, The Radio Workshop. Before joining CRF she spent eight years as a television journalist and sub-editor. She completed a Higher Diploma in Library and Information Science working as a children’s librarian and went on to devise and perform theatre locally and in the UK.

What is your background and how did you get involved with CRF?
I have a background in children’s library services, physical theatre and television journalism. It’s a mixed bag of different skills that really comes together so well working at CRF – that combination of youth development, storytelling and broadcast. When I was a children’s librarian at a community library I learned what children’s needs were, how best to respond to them that had the most impact. When I heard about the work CRF did, I thought here is an organisation that is doing just that and through radio that has an even broader reach! I hounded Mike Rahfaldt, the executive Director of CRF for two years until the NGO had capacity to employ me. During that time I worked in a newsroom and never even considered another opportunity. I was over the moon when Mike said, “Ok, come on in – and bring your CV.”

What makes you excited to go to work every day?
I love the fact that my work has purpose. That everything I do at CRF from administration to fundraising, training to curriculum planning all feeds this one idea: That youth around the world matter, and that our programmes acknowledges their need to develop and express themselves in ways that make others listen and perhaps – even take action. I love the idea that young people can begin to re-imagine who they are and who they can become because of our input. It’s also a real bonus working in a sector that puts people first, that strives for change. I couldn’t imagine a work day where I wasn’t moved, inspired or challenged by the team I work with and the communities we interact with every day.

What has been the highlight of your service?
It’s an inspiring moment, the first time you meet the young people who will participate in your workshops. They’ve made a real effort to pitch up, look great and hide their anxiety about this great unknown of radio reporting. Throughout the training you see how ideas take hold and excitement builds, how quiet children find the confidence to speak, how holding that microphone makes them stand a little taller. I will never tire being witness to this transformation and the promise it holds for young people’s lives.

What do you think makes CRF an exceptional organization?
There are many organisations that work with youth, but there are not many that do it the way CRF does, which is to put youth at the centre of the experience. Our trainers are not teachers, they facilitate learning, asking a series of well crafted questions that leads youth on a journey of discovery with themselves as the primary resource. CFR trainers believe youth already have valuable experience and knowledge and draws on this as a basis to develop their understanding of their skills, their communities and of producing radio. Our work is not about giving young people a voice – they already have one. It’s about empowering young people with the right tools to have them articulate their ideas and use it to inform and inspire others.

 

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