SPECIAL PROJECTS: High School Radio launched! | 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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Last week we proudly launched our very first high school radio at the Centre of Science and Technology (COSAT) in Khayelitsha, with the Optimistic Youth Reporters as hosts of the debut broadcast. Once again, young people behind the microphone show us their enthusiasm and commitment in producing great radio!

The 30 minute show was a showcase of the talents of the Optimistic Youth Reporters who brainstormed the concept of the show – Teenage Pregnancy – and produced all the content for the show. The radio journey with the Optimistic Youth Reporters began two and a half years ago when we entered COSAT to support dialogue amongst the young people and amplify their expression and experience about life at school and the community that extends beyond the school gates.

Our engagement with the Optimistic Youth Reporters has thrown a spotlight on  the need for productive and active youth expression at high schools about issues that are important to them and their schools. The schooling body represents a captive audience for production and consumption of contemporary issues that affect youth in communities across South Africa. With that in mind, we initiated a COSAT radio station, as a pilot to the rollout of a high school radio network; allowing youth at schools to speak across divides, real and/or imagined.

Through our CRF radio curriculum, the COSAT youth reporters, known as the Optimistic Youth Reporters, began to explore the challenges of living in Khayelitsha; such as the lack of service delivery, crime and unreliable public transport as starting points for discussions and further research for their learning and ultimately radio production. The young reporters have delved into a  wide range of talking points, including celebrating the lighter side of themselves and life in Khayelitsha. They have been producing regular radio features for our broadcasting platform, SAfm. For their efforts, the Optimistic Youth Reporters proudly walked away with the Best Debaters Award at this year’s national Youth Radio Awards. The Optimistic Reporters are enthusiastic, energised and curious. They grapple with issues in a robust manner. They have taken to radio eagerly and the group have retained its focus, commitment and enthusiasm for the platform of expression and connection that the tool of radio has presented to them.

The youth reporters are located in an oasis of schooling excellence. COSAT is recognised as one of the best centres of education in the province. Since its establishment in 1999, the school has routinely achieved a 100% matric pass rate with exceptions in the years 2009 and 2014.

Well done to the team that made this first broadcast happen!

You can also read an article on the launch, written by journalists from Groundup here.

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