My name is Christine, and I am a Young Reporter from Bikoro, in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Since 2016, I have been committed to defending the rights of the child and ensuring they are respected within my community. In Bikoro, we have 4 radios but, for unknown reasons, they haven’t been working for almost a year. We children no longer have access to the radio even though, in the 21st century, radio and television are tools for getting our voices heard on the problems which concern us.
The International Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises the importance of the media so that children have access to information in order to promote their social, spiritual and moral wellbeing, as well as their physical and mental health. It is important to broadcast quality programmes targeted at and designed for children, but also to give children the opportunity to participate in the production of programmes, to talk about their hopes, their ambitions and anything which concerns them.
Since the radios stopped working in Bikoro, the voice of the children is no longer really heard. We need a community radio to be put in place, this will allow the children to talk about their rights but also to educate the adults who are unaware of or flout these rights. At the beginning of the school year, for example, schools request the payment of certain fees from students but do not issue receipts. As Young Reporters, we have begun a project to raise awareness of this in Bikoro, but if we had access to the radio, we would be able to reach other parts of the territory.
Children represent the majority of the population, but their rights are not always respected. Having a radio would allow us to lead a change of mentality within the community. In certain remote villages, the population refuses to have their children vaccinated, putting their survival and future in jeopardy. Through the radio, we could broadcast messages regarding vaccination and make everyone understand that vaccination is a right of the child. Refusing to have a child vaccinated means violating their rights. Thanks to the radio, children will understand that they have rights and adults will realise that they cannot torture their children and make profit at their expense. As it is, where we are, many children do not go to school because they have to work with their parents.
We need a radio to amplify our voice and reach a large number of people in Bikoro. Has it not been said that repetition is the mother of all learning? Every day, week and month, we will be able to talk about the rights of the child and their importance. We have other means available for our awareness-raising activities and appeals, but we will not be able to reach everyone without a radio, given the expanse of the territory.
The children in the most remote locations also have the right to information!
More info about radio in DRC
Kindly translated from French by Amber Sherman