Children’s Voices – Are you aware of the role that local radio and television can play with regard to child rights? In this blog post, I would like to explain its role by drawing on my experience as a Child Reporter in Ituri, in the northeast of the DRC.
Why put children on radio and television?
Our experience has shown that mass communication tools are an effective way to promote the participation of children as well as to popularise the legal instruments related to child rights in our province.
A child has the right to say what s-he thinks, what s-he feels and what s-he wants on all matters that concern her/him. “States Parties” shall take into account the views of children, and think about them while taking their decisions.
The more children are thoughtful, the more adults consider their opinion.This is when adults decide that children are mature enough to participate in decisions. Younger children have a different maturity than older children and adolescents.
Our “Children’s Voices” in Ituri
If there is one thing that concerns me personally and one area that I have a special interest in, it is the preparation and management of of our TV programme “Sauti Watoto Ya” which means “Children’s Voices” in Swahili.
In the city of Bunia, the capital of the new province of Ituri, a series of programmes is organised weekly on various radio and television channels to get children involved in the promotion and protection of their own rights. These shows are hugely important and one of the only means for us to reach a large number of people in both the urban and rural areas.
Over 150 children’s shows in Ituri in 1 year!
2015 was an unprecedented year for radio and television programs on child rights! And in 2016, our record has been no worse. More than 30 shows have been broadcast and others are being prepared for the rest of the year.
RCR is the most accessible and the most listened to radio station throughout almost all of Ituri, followed by RMB (according to a study by TARJET).
From the 4th January to 27th December 2015, almost 150 programmes were made: four programmes per week, of which three were on radio and one on television as well as special editions.
These stations were also the first in Ituri to dedicate a slot to the last cohort of Child Reporters in 2012, a great reward for their advocacy work with those in charge of the radio stations. As for those of us who received our training more recently, a space was given to us on Radio CANDIP but more importantly we were given an hour slot on the only local television channel “RTS”.
The formula for our radio show
During each show, focus is given over to a particular article of the CRC and the Child Protection Law (Loi portant protection de l’Enfant), and how it relates to the everyday life of a child in Ituri.
A team of Child Reporters is selected each week to collect data using their mobile phones as the basis for their report. Defence lawyers, heads of various state and private services, parents and other community leaders are sometimes invited onto the show as guests, to give substance to the show but also to discuss the article of the day. We put particular emphasis on the interactive nature of our programmes.
Our shows are produced mainly in French, however Swahili and Lingala are also used to aid our audience’s comprehension.
Without real resources, we give everything we have
It is important to remember that producing and broadcasting these programmes is only made possible because of the sacrifices of children who work without financial or logistical support. Nevertheless they are determined and committed to play an active role in the extension of their own rights.
The members of the Children’s Listening Club (Club d’Ecoute pour Enfants) under the leadership of Child Reporters continue to give everything they have to make these shows a success.
Beyond the usual weekly programmes, special editions are dedicated to topics such as the Back to School campaign, or indeed our annual citizen holidays project and special days are used to highlight the importance of child rights.
Our work to reach every village
The distance children walk to reach the radio or television station and the lack of reporting equipment are some of the barriers we face that make things much more difficult, despite all of our advocacy. However, even without real resources, we give everything we have.
By advocating with the heads of local media outlets and the provincial government, we hope to be able to broadcast official programmes to the areas not currently reached by the main Bunia media channels.
Many people are interested in our programs and indeed benefit from them. A brighter and more secure future is possible for children is possible ! Let us continue in extending the CRC and the LPPE as well as other legal instruments that protect children in the DRC.
More info about participation of children in DRC:
David a rejoint le Club d'Ecoute pour Enfants en 2012. Deux ans après, il en est devenu le porte-parole puis en 2015, le coordonnateur. La même année, David est devenu Enfant Reporter. Il présente également diverses émissions sur les droits de l'Enfant. "Parler des droits de l'Enfant via les médias, c'est ma préférence". David étudie le droit à Bunia et rêve de travailler à la défense des droits des plus vulnérables.
David joined the Children's Listening Club in 2012. Two years later, David became the spokesperson and in 2015 the coordinator. That same year, David became a child reporter. Since 2014, David has hosted various programmes on child rights. "I want to use the media to talk about child rights”. David studies law in Bunia and dreams of working to protect the rights of the most vulnerable. He says he will always work for children.
Latest posts by David (see all)
- Child Reporters: what do they become afterwards? - 4 February 2019
- Displaced by the violence, Shukuru dreams of resuming his normal life - 31 January 2019
- “Giving birth was a moment of both joy and sadness at the same time” - 31 December 2018
- Children’s education in Haut Uélé is a priority - 21 December 2018
- Working to go to school: a reality for Mave - 13 June 2018