How do you set up a radio project for children in a part of the world devastated by the Ebola crisis?
It’s a challenge we’ve recently embraced together with the NGO Child to Child and their Sierra Leonean partner organization, Pikin to Pikin, working alongside the media production company Between the Posts.
Until the Ebola outbreak, Pikin to Pikin was running a successful education project in Kailahun, in eastern Sierra Leone, called Getting ready for School. It was a one year programme geared up for pre-school children focusing on numeracy and literacy. Activities were run by older children acting as ‘young facilitators’ who organized weekly group sessions for the younger children either at school.
The Ebola crisis put the project on hold. Kailahun district has been quarantined since early August, with heavy restrictions on freedom of movement and gatherings and all schools have been closed.
Pikin to Pikin has continued to work in the Kailahun region, distributing hygiene and sanitation materials, and has led Ebola-sensitisation activities in local communities. They have also taken part in a number of radio programmes, in an attempt to spread the message about Ebola.
The idea to launch an educational children’s radio project was conceived in December 2014 and in January Child to Child’s funder, Comic Relief, gave their full backing for this to go ahead. The radio project will be based in the Kailahun region of eastern Sierra Leone.
Our approach is to give children and young people a voice, through the powerful, and relatively low-cost medium of radio. Children will be encouraged to share their stories and creativity through song, music, poems, stories and radio drama.
The aim is to inspire and educate and inform children, and in so doing empower them to pass the health awareness messages to their wider family and community.