Radio practitioners, children and youth who wish to produce quality programmes using participatory and autonomous approaches for young people’s radio can now refer to UNESCO’s radio toolkit – Linking Generations through Radio.
The open access document is inspired by children and youth who make up one-third of the world’s population. The majority may listen to radio but the likelihood they are invited to regularly produce interviews and programmes, express their information needs or their opinions about productions made for them is very low.
“People are shocked that we are on the radio and that we can do this by ourselves as children,” recounted Mwajuma, 14, from Dar Es Salaam during the preparatory phase of the toolkit.
“The radio programme has helped me build my confidence . . .,” said Cecelia, 10, from Moshi, Tanzania who is already involved in a children’s radio project. She claims that learning to ask questions for radio has helped her overcome her fear of asking questions in the classroom.
During a 2010 survey conducted amongst three low-income countries, broadcasting managers did not see the need to ask children or youth about their opinion when creating programmes for them. In a separate project, young and employed broadcasting producers were not sure how to frame questions because they did not know enough about the topic they were covering. Pre-testing the toolkit demonstrated that involving teachers, parents and guardians facilitates young people’s involvement in media development and media literacy. Many examples can be cited to underline that initiatives that use cost-effective and widespread technology can help to bridge the gap between generations and enhance knowledge creation.
The 62-page, spiral bound publication is divided in to four parts that guide the reader through a step-by-step process clarifying linkages between conceptualizing and planning radio programmes with and for young people. It provides inclusive examples to allow free exchange of ideas between girls and boys and increase awareness of radio producers and managers about ethical and legal requirements particularly when working with minors. It may serve as a routine training or programming handbook in radio stations, a reference and resource for young people, and an advocacy tool to inform policy makers as well as the general public.
The toolkit is being used to strengthen the performance of 32 radio stations in seven Sub-Saharan African countries in collaboration with the Children Radio Foundation based in South Africa. It is also being piloted amongst international youth delegates, observers and participants attending the 8th Youth Forum at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris.
The youth radio toolkit is a product of the project “Empowering Local Radios through ICTs” financed through the generous contribution of Sweden.