UNESCO’s radio toolkit – Linking Generations through Radio – is an open access document, which 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.
Radio reaches over 95 per cent of people worldwide and several radio stations in Africa have more than a million listeners each. One of the benefits of community radio is that it reaches a wide range of people and addresses the realities of local life. Community radio often speaks in languages ignored by mainstream media and shares vital information with hard-to-reach audiences.
Children and young people make up an important percentage of this audience. But young people’s voices are still not heard in a consistent and recognised way. The 62-page radio toolkit 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.
This toolkit will help you start up a customised youth radio programme that can be further adapted to the capacity of your radio station and the needs of your community listeners.
Find below the toolkit appendices, mentioned on section IV of the toolkit:
Besides UNESCO's toolkit “Linking Generations Through Radio”, the organizations listed below also have free training tools available online to help young people to raise their voices through the airwaves. These open educational resources aim to enhance radio programming made by and for youth.
UNICEF prepared a resource pack titled “Communicating with children”, which aims to foster the use of communication for strengthening children’s lives around the world. From a broad research of teaching and training materials, principles and guidelines are established for content production addressing children’s characteristics and needs at different ages. According to the publication, these contents should be appropriate and child-friendly, holistic, positive, strengths-based and inclusive. Also, a range of positive examples, from different countries and media, are presented to illustrate the approach proposed. The material is available in Arabic, English and French.
Search for Common Ground
Search for Common Ground (SFCG) is an organization founded in 1982 which uses innovative tools to deal with conflict resolution – including media production. “Radio for Peacebuilding Africa” (RFPA) is a SFCG’s initiative that provides resources for African radio journalists to produce programmes addressing peacebuilding and also to strengthen the sustainability of community radio stations. A special guide entitled “Youth Radio for Peacebuilding” (available in English and French) was prepared to help young people and radio practitioners to produce youth-orientated programming, fostering youth participation in the debate on this issue.
Youth Radio is an organization based in the United States that trains young people in media production. Its focus on digital media and technology aims to foster youth professional development and participation in the debate of issues of public concern. Through Youth Radio’s Innovation Lab, new tools are developed to tell creative stories. Among other articles related to its activities, Youth Radio team published online tutorials – on “How to find your radio voice” and “How to come up with your own mobile app” (both in English) – that can provide useful insights for young radio practitioners.
Transom is an online platform, administrated by the organization Atlantic Public Media, that aims to innovate public radio. It provides a space for new ways of radio production, new voices, to exchange ideas, training tools, etc. There are several tutorial guides available on its website to develop both technical and journalistic skills of radio practitioners. One of these guides is specific for young people, “SHOUT OUT: A Kid’s Guide to Recording Stories”.
Radio diaries is a project started in 1996 that gives voice to ordinary people, who document their own lives in audio pieces, and often reveals moving stories for public radio. The project team published a citizen journalism guide, the “Teen Reporter Handbook”, to help anyone who wants to make radio and tell stories. The publication is available online (in English) and has been used in some schools to train teenagers in radio production.
Sound Portraits is a project no longer in activity dedicated to tell stories of neglected voices in the United States with an innovative approach to debate issues of public concern – such as poverty, crime and race. Education programs were produced based on the project activities, such as “Youth Portraits” and “Ghetto Life 101”, in order to help young people to tell their own stories. Training tools are available online (in English), such as a recording and interviewing tutorial and study guides for Youth Portraits and Ghetto Life 101 programs.
Examples of youth radio programs
The radio stations benefited by UNESCO’s project “Empowering Local Radios with ICTs” have demonstrated their commitment in including more young voices in their programming. By implementing the youth radio toolkit “Linking Generations through Radio”, produced by UNESCO, the local radios are producing youth-targeted programming in three levels: radio for youth, radio with youth, and radio by youth.
One example of a radio program produced by and for young people comes from Moanda Community Radio, in Democratic Republic of the Congo. They have a show where young presenters talk about issues affecting youth in their community, being the listeners who choose the thematic of each edition. Members of the community and specialists are invited in the studio to debate with the young audience, who also make their opinions heard. Messages to raise awareness about important issues are passed in a creative way, using music and jingles to attract the attention of young people. You can listen below to one program (in French) where they discuss the reluctance young people face on the issue of voluntary HIV testing:
Mkushi FM, in Zambia, also has a show where young people can chat about their issues. Young presenters inform their audience with an easy vocabulary, music, interviews with specialists, and opinions and experiences shared by the young public. Listeners are also invited to send their comments and questions via SMS or Facebook. One issue discussed in one of their participatory programs was the puberty in girls, which you can listen below:
In the show “Youth corner” on Breeze FM, in Zambia, young people do the program together with the presenter. The show is a conversation where young people choose the topic they want to talk about, raise questions, give their opinions, suggestions and demand solutions. Their conversation about the causes of and possible solutions for youth unemployment in Zambia can be listened below:
In other radios, young correspondents are interviewing specialists and authorities to understand the causes of their problems and demand solutions. The effects of youth unemployment in Isoka district, in Zambia, were addressed in this interview on “The voice radio program” at Iso Community Radio:
The same subject was covered by Radio Lyambai, also in Zambia, in this interview:
Three interviews about issues affecting youth in Zambia, conducted by Zambezi FM’s young correspondents, can be listened below:
Role of youth in politics:
HIV in schools:
And also youth unemployment: