“Children are to be seen and not heard”. That was the popular saying some five to ten years ago. Now the fight for child rights is ongoing and a massive force is behind it all over the world to put things in their right places. The Children and Youth in Broadcasting, “Curious Minds” is a child rights advocacy group which believes in the survival, development, protection and participation of children and young people for that matter, in all issues affecting them.
The group’s main channel of communication is through the media. This includes radio programs which is solely produced and presented by children and young people. The group also produces quarterly newsletter on population and development issues including young people’s sexual and reproductive health. In order not to sit in the studio all the time but to go on the field and tell the stories as they are, Curious Minds also organizes community outreach broadcast programs live on radio.
I must admit that before all these successes were chalked in order to create change, the group had gone through a lot of challenges in the course of fighting for children and young people to have a place in the society. These challenges came from the media, adults, society and even some young people who were not aware of their capabilities. There is the lack of commitment on the part of policy makers who sometimes totally forget to implement the policies they have made. Ghana prides herself in being the first country to ratify the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child however we have done little to protect children and young people.
Accepting the ability and opinion of young people is also very difficult for some adults. This goes out especially to those who believe that young people are trying to take their place and kick them out. They fail to understand that partnership is all we ask for. There is also the lack of adequate tools and materials in voicing out our opinion and not forgetting funding of youthful activities. After all is said and done, sending the information across in quite challenging since the tools are not available.
There is the need for a total behavioral change on issues concerning young people. Society needs to accept the fact young people can make a difference in their society when given the chance. Peer to peer education I believe is very vital since young people take advice from their peers easily. Also, the media should take issues of young people seriously and report on any good thing they are able to come up with. Furthermore, policy makers have to be committed in relation to young people’s issues.
Pulsewire and other online communities could create media platforms for young people so that they can tell their own stories and create the change that we need. Young people from all over the world can share ideas and the practice that works best in their communities.