Launched in 2007, the Children's Radio Foundation (CRF) works with children and young people to use radio and other existing low-cost technologies to create media content by and for children. The aim is to give children a space to share their stories, voice their concerns, and share their triumphs and strategies for success.
CRF works to give young people tools and skills to make their voices heard. With over 40 youth radio projects across five African countries, this includes working with radio stations and youth organisations to create opportunities for youth dialogue, leadership, social engagement, and action. Through radio broadcasts, young people speak about their concerns and reach out to their peers and wider audiences about the issues they face.
CRF's approach includes the following key steps.
- Enlist community leaders: When setting up a youth radio project, CRF-certifedd facilitators first train adult members of the local community, teaching fundamental journalism skills, how to instruct and recruit youth participants, and how to create and grow a sustainable project. These facilitators then possess the skills to run their youth radio initiative, create new programming, and to train more youth reporters.
- Build trust: To begin a weeklong youth training workshop, CRF engages participants in a series of exercises and games to build trust within the group and encourage sharing of experiences. This challenges young people to think about issues in their community, discuss different points of view, and articulate their concerns.
- Teach consent and ethics: Responsible journalists must report honestly, accurately, and ethically, CRF ensures that the young journalists create the conditions for their own success.
- Develop reporting skills: CRF teaches youth journalists the essential techniques to produce a radio show, including the processes of interviewing, writing, and recording. They learn strategies for creating interesting, well informed, and youth-focused stories, and how to communicate them in a compelling way. The youth learn to take positions on issues and support them with research and facts.
- Create a corps of community youth journalists: The weeklong workshop culminates with students recording and producing a live radio show, which is broadcast on their local community station and made available on CRF's online audio sharing system. The youth journalists and their adult facilitators are then able to produce weekly shows with ongoing support.
Along with various workshops in schools and community centres, CRF is involved in the following key projects:
The Radio Workshop Show
The Radio Workshop, the Children's Radio Foundation's radio broadcast, airs nationwide in South Africa, and is available online and as a podcast on iTunes. The show offers younger listeners a mix of current affairs, entertainment, information, and showcases the stories of young people. Broadcasts have included a report about students trying to get a library in their school, audio profiles of a young refugee struggling to belong, a career profile of an architect, a doctor responding to listeners' health questions, and conversations with female athletes about dedication and motivation. All audio content is available for free to broadcast outlets around the world, and is downloadable from the CRF website.
Youth Radio Network
In January 2011, CRF launched their first Youth Radio Network in Tanzania. Working with UNICEF Tanzania and local partners (Save the Children, Plan International, and ZAPHA), CRF conducted training workshops in four locations and trained 60 youth journalists to produce radio programmes that air weekly on local stations. CRF is planning to launch three more Youth Radio Networks across the African continent in 2011 and more in 2012.
Working with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Since 2009, the CRF has partnered with UNICEF on a series of initiatives. In South Africa, the CRF facilitated dialogues with youth on citizenship and social change, and produced a series of radio programmes for the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As part of UNICEF's climate change initiatives, the CRF trained over 200 young people from 44 countries as radio journalists at the Children's Climate Forum in Copenhagen and at UNICEF's Zambia Children's Climate Conference. In World Cup in My Village, the CRF partnered with UNICEF to provide youth media training and access to coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2010 for young people in Zambia and Rwanda.
The CRF uses radio and other technologies to connect young people across the world and to facilitate cross-cultural dialogues about pressing social issues. Pairing high school classrooms in different countries, CRF's audio pen pal programme allows young people to exchange audio letters and to participate in debates on a regular basis. The project is designed to encourage young people to see the world from a different perspective, foster a spirit of dialogue and debate, and teach communication skills.
In 2009, the Children's Radio Foundation launched a radio project at Cape Town's Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, the largest pediatric hospital on the African continent. Using audio recorders and microphones, they trained a group of young patients to tell their stories for radio. Reports have included chronicling the long wait for a kidney transplant, interviewing a doctor about treatment for a severe burn, and diarising life with a chronic heart and lung condition. The audio reports document the questions and concerns of young people in a time of illness, and provide them with the opportunity to speak about their situations. Plans for the next stage of the project include setting up an in-house radio station at the hospital, and each patient will receive an MP3 player upon admission to the hospital so that they can receive the audio content on offer. Click here to listen to a selection of Hospital Radio audio diaries with visuals on Youtube.
Each year CRF also presents the Caroline Binger Child Advocacy and Educational Fellowship, a 3-week all expenses paid internship in Cape Town, South Africa at the Children’s Radio Foundation's headquarters. The selected student works under the close supervision of CRF's professional staff. The internship is designed around the specific skills and interests of the participant.
Children, Youth, Media
As reported in the 2011 Annual Report, CRF has:
- trained over 1000 youth reporters in 5 countries in Africa since 2009;
- established a nationwide Youth Radio Network in Tanzania, reaching an estimated 2.5 million listeners weekly;
- produced and broadcast over 200 episodes of the Radio Workshop; and
- Developed an online listenership of more than 20,000 via the website, iTunes, and SoundCloud.
Children's Radio Foundation, UNICEF
CCRF's website on September 10 2010 and an email with latest brochure and annual report sent by Maria Hengeveld on July 5 2012.
This New York Times article reports from Mawewe, South Africa, on a programme engaging children and youth in HIV prevention by linking to their enthusiasm for soccer.
Global Health Weekly Digest, June 14 2010. Image source: Patrick Barth for The New York Times
The Psycho Social Support Cluster of the Children in Distress Network (CINDI), together with Jive Media, created this workbook, which is designed as a tool to help adults facilitate disclosure of abus
English and isiZulu
CINDI website on August 17 2010.
Launched in 2009, Umuzi (which is Zulu for village) is a photography club initiated by three young entrepreneurs from the fields of finance and consulting for primary and secondary school learners in Soweto and other developing communities around Johannesburg, South Africa. The organisation is designed to empower learners with photography skills while promoting artistic self-expression and critical thinking as means to raise social awareness. Learners attend participatory workshops and are given opportunities to exhibit their work.
Umuzi aspires to equip learners with practical skills in photography and visual literacy in an entertaining and participatory manner. Through interactive workshops, learners are introduced to photography basics and visual literacy, as well as social awareness and activism. At each workshop, they receive their own film cameras, which they carry for a week, playing the role of a documentary photographer.
The Umuzi workshops teach students to use photography as a tool for creative expression by grounding their lessons in the stories of the students' lives. The young photographers learn to create compelling compositions by building narratives around the issues that they face every day – including HIV and AIDS, teen pregnancy, poverty, and the lack of basic services. In following workshops, participants scrutinise their prints, through classroom discussion and peer critiquing, to build a portfolio of their favourite work, which is bound into an album which they keep. These discussions also often spark conversations about difficult social issues.
The organisation operates out of four schools. Barnato Park High School is located in the middle of Hillbrow and is the largest inner-city school in South Africa. Learners who attend the high school come from communities all over Johannesburg, including Hillbrow itself and Soweto. Kwena Molapo High School educates learners from grades 8 to 12, aged 14 to 18 years. There are 640 learners, the majority of whom are from very economically poor families. Karabo Primary School educates learners up to grade 4, aged 5 to 11 years. There are 350 learners of which 30% come from Tladi informal settlement and lack proper housing. In addition, many have been orphaned by AIDS and are cared for by their grandmothers or older siblings. Zifuneleni Junior Secondary School is located in Orlando East, Soweto and educates learners from grades 7 to 9. Of the over 850 young people who attend the school, 80% are from severely impoverished households, too poor to afford school fees. The school runs a feeding scheme for its students to which the principal and teaching staff make personal contributions.
Photography exhibitions of club members' are held periodically at galleries in South Africa, the United States, and Europe with the intention of selling high-quality prints. The proceeds support the funding of development projects identified by the schools. Projects funded by student exhibits include new library content at Karabo Primary School and a functioning plumbing system at Kwena Molapo High School, giving the school running water for the first time.
Aside from raising funds and helping young people to better understand their world, organisers say the practical skills taught by the photo club are invaluable in a community with high levels of unemployment. Umuzi has enrolled a small group of students in courses at the Johannesburg College of Digital Photography, where they can deepen their technical expertise. The photo programme covers tuition and transportation costs for each of these students.
Photos, videos, and news about the club can be viewed on the Umuzi Photo Club blog.
Investec is Umuzi’s principal funding partner
Initiated in 2006, the Force for Change Fatherhood Project is designed to mobilise South African men to develop their capacity to be advocates and activists in efforts to eliminate violence against women and children, prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, and promote health, care, and support to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).
The Force for Change Fatherhood Project is a part of Sonke’s broader One Man Can Campaign and works specifically to include men and to engage them in playing a central role in the initiative, which includes facilitating dialogue around gender equality, HIV and AIDS, and violence against women and children.
Sonke conducted formative research with both adult men and with children to create a baseline understanding of local issues relating to violence against women and children, health promotion, HIV treatment and prevention, and care and protection of OVC. Click here in order to download the report in PDF format on the participatory research conducted with children.
Next, Sonke trained staff from both municipalities and local civil society partners in each area on the implementation of the One Man Can Campaign. Together with local partners, Sonke then trained learners to educate their peers and conducted a Sonke refresher course designed for learners who had previously been trained as social change agents in their communities. In addition, Sonke and its partners implemented photovoice and digital story projects, which led to the creation of digital stories and posters that allowed youth to share their experiences, aspirations, and needs. Click here for the photovoice stories from the Mhlontlo community and here for the photovoice stories from the Nkandla community. Click here for the digital stories.
In addition, the organisers were approached to conduct training with 18 initiates before they went to initiation school. The training focused on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), links between STIs and HIV, and circumcision and HIV risks. According to the organisers, it was the first training conducted with a surgeon who performs traditional circumcisions, and this paved the way for dialogue with traditional surgeons and has created an opportunity to train more initiates in the future. The idea is that the training will lead to the creation of One Man Can Community Action Teams to facilitate training and to mobilise other men to act on violence prevention, HIV prevention, health promotion, and care and support to OVC.
The project also facilitated community imbizos as part of traditional meetings with community leaders. The imbizos were designed to create open spaces to address and discuss issues affecting the communities, including gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS. The first imbizo was attended by 90 men who discussed issues around good and responsible fatherhood, as well as the challenges that OVC are facing.
The project also seeks to mobilise government and civil society around raising awareness and increasing capacity to plan, budget, implement, evaluate, and sustain projects that increase men's involvement in ending violence against women and children.
Gender, Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), HIV/AIDS, and Gender-Based Violence.
Founded in Februray 2006, Sonke Gender Justice works to address the social aspects of the HIV epidemic, with a particular focus on gender issues. Sonke Gender Justice's vision is a Southern African Development Community (SADC) region in which men, women, youth, and children can enjoy equitable, healthy, and happy relationships that contribute to the development of a just and democratic society. To achieve this, the Sonke Gender Justice works to build government, civil society, and citizen capacity to achieve gender equality, prevent gender-based violence, and reduce the spread of HIV and the impact of AIDS.
Sonke Gender Justice, UNICEF, the Open Society Foundation, the municipalities of Nkandla and Mhlontlo, Siyakanyisa, Umtata Child Abuse Resource Center, Sizanani, and the Nkandla HIV Network.
"Love - Stories in a Time of HIV/AIDS" is a series of 10 half-hour films produced for television in 10 countries in Southern Africa, exploring the many facets of love in the context of HIV/AIDS. Launched in 2009, the series is part of the OneLove regional campaign, which aims to educate and create awareness on the effects of multiple concurrent partnerships, as well as to encourage youth to take responsibility for their lives and their actions.
The 10 films comprising the series are designed to tell stories that cross borders, entertain and move people, challenge deeply held beliefs, and get people to pause and think. According to organisers, each film carries a strong educational message and is rooted in in-depth research. The series is a culmination of a capacity-building programme that was initiated by Soul City Institute: Health and Development Communication, which involved 120 people (writers, producers, technical crew, and directors from 10 countries) being trained and mentored in the development and production of effective and entertaining drama.
The series, which is designed for youth and adults, was developed in different local languages with English sub-titles. The series is also being dubbed into Portuguese.
The 10 films are:
- "After the Honeymoon" - Malawi (Pakachere): In this romantic comedy, a newlywed couple returns from their honeymoon, which was not a success. Tinyade wants to talk about it, but it makes her husband, Limbikani, very uncomfortable. So he talks to his old friend Kenson instead, who gives him really bad advice on how to prove he is a real man again.
- "Against the Odds" - Namibia (Desert Soul): Set in Windhoek's Khomasdal township, this story revolves around Granny Mouton, who survives by barbequing meat on the streets. It is a dream come true when the owner of a successful car wash offers her a place to cook for his customers. But things take a nasty turn when it appears that his real motive is to pursue her beautiful and innocent granddaughter, Jenny.
- "Big House, Small House" - Zimbabwe (Action): When Shingi's husband Simba tells her he is taking a second wife, she is devastated. Simba tells her it is tradition and that he still loves her. However, Shingi won't accept his explanation and decides to find out the truth about his new bride.
- "Chaguo - The Choice" - Tanzania (Femina HIP): Amani and Faraja are in love, and they have just moved in together. One night, Amani stays out all night drinking in a bar with his friends and ends up having unprotected sex. The story follows Amani's struggle to deal with the consequences as he considers his relationship and the safety of Faraja.
- "Traídos Pela Traição - Betrayed" - Mozambique (N'weti Comunicação para Saúde): Andre and Teyasse are in love but both have secrets. One day they decide to break with tradition and start afresh by being honest with each other. But, as the truth unravels, they find out that it is not so easy to come clean.
- "Umtshato - The Wedding" - South Africa (Soul City): Set in a village in the Eastern Cape, this film tells the story of Nomandla, who is in the final stages of her traditional Xhosa wedding to Makhosi. Nomandla has loved Makhosi for many years. On her special day, she discovers a terrible truth, which her mother is determined to hide.
- "Monna oa Motsamai - The Travelling Man" - Lesotho (Phela Health and Development Communications): Motsami Raliselo leads a double life. He often leaves his wife and children to travel for work to Lesotho, where he also has another sexual partner. The film deals with Motsami Raliselo's reaction when he finds out that he is HIV-positive.
- "When The Music Stops" - Zambia (Kwatu): On the surface, Jeremiah and Monalisa are a happily married couple. He is a deacon in the church, and she sings in the church choir. But underneath it all, they are trapped in an unhappy marriage. Monalisa longs for love and affection and is about to risk everything to have it. When her teenage daughter discovers the truth, Monalisa is forced to make a choice.
- "Second Chances" - Botswana (Choose Life): Lerato, a young girl from an economically poor community in Botswana, leaves home to go to university in Gaborone. She is bright and full of hope and the first girl from her village to make it to university. Lerato will do whatever it takes to fit in and be admired and gets involved with an older man who has money and resources. She then falls in love with Monamodi, a young and passionate artist, and finds out that past actions cannot easily be undone.
- "Bloodlines" - Swaziland (Lusweti): Forty-year-old business man Qhawe Hlanze has always taken care of his beloved wife and family. However, he believes that what he does outside his marriage is not only his business but his right. One fateful day, his son is seriously injured in an accident, and he needs to face the consequences of his infidelity.
The films began being broadcast on national television in all 10 countries across the region in March 2010.
Click here to watch clips of the films.
According to the organisers, "Love - Stories in a time of HIV & AIDS" builds on the success of the "Untold" television series, which - according to research - was well received and had impact. The "Untold" series also earned international recognition and was shown at film festivals in both Europe and the United States.
Phela - Health and Development Communications, Pakachere Institute of Health and Development Communication, Nweti, Desert Soul Health and Development Communication, The Soul City Institute for Health & Development Communication, Lusweti Institute of Health & Development, Femina HIP, Zambia Centre for Communication Programmes, and Action Magazine.
OneLove Southern Africa website on April 6 2010.
Launched in November 2009, this 5-minute video, released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in South Africa, is designed to educate young internet users about the dangers of human t
According to IOM, this online video is based on true stories from interviews conducted by IOM while assisting actual victims in South Africa. Since the internet is sometimes used by human traffickers as a way to recruit youth, IOM decided to use an online and animated video to warn the same age groups that the traffickers often target people online.
The animated video recounts the story of a group of young children who meet a trafficker on their way to school. They have to decide whether to follow him when he promises them a better life. In class, the children are taught about internal and cross-border trafficking using case studies involving forced child labour and domestic servitude, and this knowledge helps them avoid becoming victims of trafficking. The animation uses very few words, focusing instead on pictorial representations to get the message across. When the English language is used, phrases are designed to be simple and succinct. At the end of the video, a detailed explanation of human trafficking appears in English.
Editor's note: See below to view the animation on YouTube. People can also request the video for free dissemination or broadcast by contacting IOM (see contact details below).
Human Trafficking, Children, Youth.
According to the IOM, South Africa is a key focus of this campaign due to the fact that the country is "a source, transit and destination for victims of trafficking. The relative socio-economic stability of South Africa in the Southern African region makes it a prime destination for people in search of economic opportunities. At the same time, there is a high demand for cheap labour and sex services in the country. These factors make it an attractive destination for traffickers, who often exploit the willingness of people to travel to South Africa in search of better opportunities to lure them into exploitation."
IOM also states that there is also a prevalence for "internal trafficking" in South Africa, "where vulnerable people living in impoverished communities in the rural areas and informal settlements are trafficked to major urban centers...for exploitation in forced labor or sexual slavery."
According to IOM, victims of human trafficking are among the most vulnerable to violent abuse, as they are usually recruited through deception or force, transported to an unfamiliar location, and exploited through forced labour, removal of body part(s), or sexual slavery - among others. Children make up one-fifth of the number of victims of trafficking that IOM assists in Southern Africa.
IOM’s Southern African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme (SACTAP)
This 24-page report, published by the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication, presents a summary of an audience reception study conducted to assess the impact of a series of HIV/AIDS education films entitled "Untold: Stories in a Time of HIV & AIDS." The report also provides an overview of the capacity building programme which was part of the series production. According to the report, the series moved and entertained audiences, created dialogue and debate, and got people thinking about the choices they face in relation to HIV and AIDS.
Onelove Southern Africa website on February 22 2010.
Launched in 2007, the Mpilonhle Mobile Health and Education Project, implemented by Mpilonhle (which means "Good Life" in Zulu), uses mobile units to provide health information and services and education programmes to rural schools and communities in the province of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. The programmes are designed to: help prevent HIV and promote general health; provide medical and social services; and develop computer-based skills and knowledge.
Each mobile unit includes a computer laboratory equipped with 24 individual computers which are available to students during the day, after hours, on weekends, and during school holidays. The students receive structured computer training, which includes guidance about how to use the computer, as well as basic software, email, and internet skills. Students can also access educational health material, including information on HIV/AIDS and self-tests for knowledge of HIV and other health issues.
In response to students' request to involve their parents in the programme, the mobile units were made available to parents and other members of the community on weekends and during school holidays. Parents and community members are provided with services similar to those given to students.
The project uses a participatory learning and skills-building approach. Through interactive group health education sessions, learners become actively involved in the learning process rather than mainly listening to lectures. These sessions are led by a trained health educator and are adapted to the age of the students. They focus on strategies for preventing HIV, such as delaying sexual debut, and, if sexually active, being faithful to a single partner, practicing safer sex and using condoms, and HIV testing. The sessions also cover topics such as substance abuse, healthy eating, reducing stigma, and living with HIV.
Students are also offered a one-hour health screening. During screening, services include voluntary counselling and testing for HIV; screening and care for other sexually transmitted infections; and screening, counselling and referral for tuberculosis, pregnancy, hypertension, asthma, substance abuse, and mental health problems. Students also receive counselling on family planning, nutrition and exercise, and mental health. In addition, Mpilonhle has added a food security component to the project that includes food parcels, school food gardens, and nutrition education.
The Mpilonhle programme uses an electronic client record to record all of its services. Health counsellors, who also conduct the HIV testing, use an Apple Ipod connected to a server through a local area network (LAN) to record all information collected from students they see in the one-hour counselling session. The screening follows a standard format that is prompted by the electronic record, which also includes decision support. Nurses and social workers use netbooks to connect through the LAN to record information on client visits. Information from all encounters is kept in a single database that is synchronised daily from the mobile sites using a mobile phone.
The educational curriculum [PDF] used in the programme was developed in collaboration with the Education Development Centre and focuses on participatory learning and skills building. Methods include class discussions, brainstorming, demonstration and guided practice, role plays, small group work, educational games and simulations, case studies, storytelling, debates, audio and visual activities, and decision-mapping. Materials are geared toward health promotion and wellness rather than just disease prevention. This includes the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual areas of life. The project seeks to address factors that can affect health as a whole, rather than as isolated issues.
Youth, Health, HIV/AIDS.
The programme is serving 32 schools and communities throughout northern KwaZulu-Natal through 3 mobile units. The schools have a total enrolment of 24,000 students.
Mpilonhle, Health and Human Development (HHD) Division of the Education Development Centre (EDC), KZN Department of Health, KZN Department of Education, KZN Department of Social Development, South Africa Catholic Bishops Conference, Star Schools, and Grassroot Soccer.
Mpilonhle website; Mpilonphle Mobile Health and Education Project: HIV and AIDS Activities 1-8 (Year 1) for Youth in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa [PDF] on January 18 2010; and emails from Michael Bennish, MD to The Communication Initiative on September 24 2012 and September 25 2012.
Freedom of Information (FOI) and Women’s Rights in Africa - A Collection of Case Studies from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia
Published by the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), this resource book is a collection of case studies from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia. It was produced as part of the Freedom of Information (FOI) and Women’s Rights in Africa Project, a collaboration between FEMNET and the United Nations Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO), which works to strengthen women’s participation in the processes of formulating, enacting, and implementing the of the Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation in Africa.
UNESCO website on January 20 2010.