The power of radio for children and young people
For most of us, radio is something we tune into to listen to the latest chart show, the news or our favourite chat show but in remote and marginalised communities like where our partners work radio is much more than that.
For the children and young people we work with, radio is a fundamental tool to communicate their ideas and ensure their voice is heard within the community. Radio can reach the remotest areas, and it provides a platform from which marginalised groups can be heard.
How our partners use radio
Our partners Fundescodes and Corporación Casa Amazonia use radio as a part of their projects with children and young people to tackle issues of sexual and gender-based violence, recruitment into armed groups, and the difficulties facing indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.
For both partners, radio is a key tool for educating listeners about children’s rights, as well as providing an opportunity for young people at the projects to develop their communication skills. Not only do these young people develop the content and present the programmes, they also manage the editing and production processes.
The young people use it as a medium to promote their upcoming activities, encourage their communities to take part, and in doing so drive change within the community. They discuss the difficulties and risks children face in communities like theirs that have been left fractured by the armed conflict, and how they can work together protect themselves against these risks.
How Corporación Casa Amazonia uses the radio in their projects
Corporación Casa Amazonia works in Colombia’s Putumayo region, which is a key strategic area for the armed actors in Colombia’s conflict, meaning many communities face high levels of violence. Children and young people are at particular risk of sexual violence by armed actors, or of being recruited as messengers, informants, combatants or drug traffickers.
As a part of our project, Casa Amazonia brought children and young people together from five different schools to host an inter-school radio station (click to listen), as well as helping young people to secure a spot on a local community station, La tertulia, to raise awareness about the problems they face as Colombia attempts to transition into a post-conflict society.
The students discussed life in their rural indigenous communities, focusing on the difficulties and dangers they are facing in the changing context of Colombia, and used the programmes to motivate their communities to work together to overcome these issues.
Radio acts as a medium for the young people to address a large audience to demand that children’s rights are recognised and respected and that they are considered by those making decisions that will affect them at local and national level.
Casa Amazonia says, “Through our radio station we want the young people’s voices to be heard and to encourage an open dialogue about the issues they discuss, not just at a school level, but at local and national level to raise awareness of the current situation children and young people are facing.”
How Fundescodes uses radio in their projects
Fundescodes works to create safer communities in Buenaventura, where children and young people are protected from threats such as forced recruitment, violence and discrimination. It does this through community mobilisation and supporting young people to rebuild a united and protective community.
Our project with Fundescodes uses sports and the arts to train young people in peaceful conflict resolution skills and help them understand their rights. For Fundescodes, encouraging and developing youth leadership is a crucial element their work.
The initiative to use radio as a part of the project was entirely led by the young people themselves; two youth leaders in charge of Fundescodes’ communications identified radio as a powerful tool to share their plans with the community.
Fundescodes is extremely active within the community and the young people use radio to promote their upcoming events and activities and communicate their plans and ideas. It has also been a key tool for them to drive campaigns to protect safe community spaces, like the local library and football pitches, that have been threatened by violent appropriation by armed groups.
Check out Fundescodes YouTube channel to see some of the great videos and broadcasts they have produced as a part of our project together. https://www.youtube.com/user/fundescodes