Issue #: 
November 18, 2002

This issue of the Drum Beat looks at radio programmes made for, with, by and about children and youth, as well as the context of youth radio and advocacy for participation of youth in local dialogues through radio.

"Far from being subsumed, as had often been predicted, into the new technology of digital broadband multimedia of the 1990s, some would say that children's & youth radio has emerged as an identifiable strand in the media of the developing world. There seems to be a rising awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and of radio's potential to deliver information on child rights related issues such as health (HIV & AIDS), safety (land mines) and education, as well as its power to action children's participatory rights.

International radio networks also provide programming featuring the voices of the young and responding to the needs of new audiences such as children affected by war and other disadvantaged groups. There are many examples of children's and youth participation in small, grassroots radio projects, all of which depend on the support of local and national radio broadcasters. Many represent fragile beginnings, but the long-term effects of allowing these voices to be heard should not be underestimated." - Sarah McNeill, UNLIMITED Productions

"When you do tv, you think about how you look and when you do radio you think about what you want to say." - African youth participant at the UN Special Session on Children, New York, 2002


New Commentary

Sarah McNeill from World Radio Forum looks at promoting children’s rights through a youth-led proposal for an International Children's and Youth Radio Manifesto.



1. Bulgarian School Radio Project - Bulgaria - The goal of this project was to train Roma children from different backgrounds to work with radio equipment and to gain experience in journalism. School radio clubs in 15 schools were formed with Roma-Bulgarian, Roma-Turkish, Roma, Turkish, and Bulgarian children. Radio journalists from Bulgarian National Radio conducted five 2-day seminars for students and teachers. Equipment was provided to each school and weekly programmes were created and then produced and distributed over the public address system of the schools. Some programmes are also broadcast on local private stations and on the National Radio. Contact Hristo Kyuchukov OR

2. Butterflies Radio Project - India - A dozen 7- to 18-year old street and working children in New Delhi called 'Bal Mazdoor' have organised a children's rights radio initiative. The 1/2 hour programme features news (local and international), popular music, and interviews. For example, one programme was based on the reports of closure of a night shelter without prior notice. It focused on the hardship that streetchildren faced as a result of the closure. The programmes are broadcast from a two-in-one cassette recorder placed on a rickshaw with loud speakers attached to it. Contact Rita Panicker

3. Chaskiwawas - Peru - Youth child rights reporters, originally part of a UNICEF project, are now working in the highlands and lowlands of Peru with a network of local radio stations. Contact Rocio Franco

4. Children's Radio Education Workshop (CREW) - South Africa - 3 shows - BushTots, BushKidz and BushTeens - are created and aired by youth involved in the community radio station, BUSH Radio. Organised under the CREW umbrella the scheme allows for up to 20 young people to be involved in training to produce and broadcast their own weekend radio shows. Contact

5. Hatemalo Radio Programme - Nepal - In an effort to build up the self-esteem of disabled children, success stories from different countries are aired on a radio programme. The message is: "another child with the same disadvantages has achieved this: don't let your disability overcome your strengths. You, too, can do it!" Children participate in every step of production of the programme, from developing the idea for the script to the production of the radio show. At annual planning meetings, children suggest major topics or issues for the next year. Based on these suggestions, radio programmes are developed and broadcast. Contact Kumar Bhattarai

6. Nasli Somon - Tajikistan - Aims to help children and youth construct a new role for themselves as citizens of Tajikistan. The youth-directed projects involve radio, TV, and newspaper to raise awareness about child and youth rights issues, to give information on the UN CRC, and to provide a forum for sharing experiences on exercising these rights and responsibilities. The youth radio group, Nasli Somon, consists of 60 children 12 - 16 years old. The children have their own room and equipment for training/workshops and broadcasts. Their weekly 20 minute programme is broadcast on national radio. Contact Ruslan Ziganshin


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7. New York Kids - United States - An interactive programme designed for 8- to 12-year-old metropolitan New York City children. A weekly, live interactive radio show hosted by kids and geared toward kids. Broadcast from 1992-2001 on the public radio station WNYC, the 2-hour show was meant to give kids a voice in society and create a sense of community among kid listeners. Contact

8. Radiobumba - Latvia - A youth radio programme hosted and produced by college students and broadcast on Latvian Radio 5 days a week. The programmes, which address listeners from 14 to 20 years of age, include music, features on professions and recreation, and interviews.
Contact Zane Lace OR

9. Radio Gune Yi - Senegal - Children take part in weekly broadcasts recorded in villages in outlying areas of the country; the show is aired nationally on Radio Television Senegal (RTS). Part of Plan International child rights radio projects worldwide. Contact Mimi Brazeau

10. Remix the Streets (Radio Regen) - UK - A Project Manager works with youth and community arts workers to develop a project at onsite street locations. For example, the team would approach a group of young people - in a bus shelter, perched on a wall, in the back room of a pub, or in a park - and ask them if they would like to make a music show. The team carries a battered suitcase with them that is actually a portable radio studio. Participants DJ, rap, choose the music, and operate the equipment. The show is then recorded to cassette and given to the group at the end of the session. The project culminates in the making of a piece of radio that can be broadcast on one of Radio Regen’s community stations. Contact

11. Soul Buddyz - South Africa - The 2nd Soul Buddyz radio series will be launched July 2003. This will be a 10 minute drama series, followed by a 5 minute info slot, followed by a 15 minute phone-in talk show. The new series will be broadcast on 9 African language stations. Soul City trains these stations in how to work with children, trains the children to do radio acting and also trains the young presenters to host the phone-in talk show (with studio guests). Contact Sue Goldstein

12. Talking Drum Studio - Sierra Leone - Creates and airs radio programmes with different formats that are designed to encourage peace and reconciliation. The station also participates in events like peace carnivals, undertakes community radio outreach, and collaborates with government agencies and local and international organisations. Golden Kids News brings together 16 children of mixed backgrounds to serve as reporters, producers, and actors. This show creates a forum for children to discuss their hopes and fears, advocate their issues, and discuss events related to the war. Contact Search for Common Ground (SFCG)

13. Teen Talk - Dominica - The 10-part radio series Teen Talk was produced and presented by young people as part of a pilot youth advocacy project focusing on reproductive health issues. The programme format was determined by youth working in a series of participatory workshops. The project intended to help young people secure future employment by equipping them with the skills to be creative and to explore issues from their own perspective. Contact James Greenshields

14. Voice of Children Radio Project - Global - Works to address the need for information, recreation, and entertainment among children in war-affected areas while giving them a voice through radio programmes. At the local level, Voice of Children helps establish and develop independent local radio programmes and stations in conflict-affected countries. At the international level, the project develops, produces, and airs programmes specifically addressing war-affected children with the collaboration of international broadcasters. Contact Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children & Armed Conflict


15. 2002 Radio Kidocracy - Youth Broadcasting Conference - A youth radio festival which aimed to give participants time and space to celebrate and explore new forms of radio production, with a range of practical workshops. Discussion groups focused on child rights, issues such as HIV/AIDS and different aspects of youth participation. Contact Nashira Abrahams

16. International Children's & Youth Radio (ICYR) Manifesto - "In recent years the number of new radio projects that involve children and youth in production has been increasing.... Where new initiatives are being set up to maximise radio's potential, both for involving youth and actioning the rights of marginalised children, small community stations have a vital role to play but their efforts need recognition and support. .. This can be achieved by the development of an internationally recognised Children's & Youth Radio Manifesto..." - Plans for an ICYR Manifesto were first discussed at the 2001 Radio Kidocracy held in South Africa. The conference included approx. 60 youth from local community radio stations and representatives of national youth groups, including refugee children and children living with disabilities. Points from workshop session discussions now form the draft document, known as the International Children's & Youth Radio Manifesto.
Click here for more information on the World Radio Forum website. Contact Sarah McNeill

17. International Children's Day of Broadcasting - Dec 8 2002 - On the 2nd Sunday of December each year, broadcasters open their studios and airwaves to children and the result is often innovative, lively and challenging programmes that attract substantial audiences. Contact J. Gonzalez

18. 2002 Radio Prize - An award from UNICEF and OneWorld to honor outstanding radio produced by and for children in 2002. Deadline Jan 31 2003.

19. Africa Charter on Children's Broadcasting (2000) - from the Commonwealth Broadcasters Association


Many thanks to Sarah McNeill, UNLIMITED Productions, for her assistance with this issue.


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