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As FIFA World Cup 2010 kicks off, Zambian youth journalists speak out
MONGU, Zambia, 11 June 2010 – For Inonge Sitali, 14, a radio dialogue with peers about the FIFA World Cup 2010 – which kicked off 11 June in South Africa – is more than a casual conversation. It is an opportunity to discuss important gender issues in her local community of Mongu, in western Zambia.
“I disagree with the guys out there who are saying that football cannot be played by girls,” says Inonge. “We all have the right to play any sport.”
The radio discussion is part of ‘World Cup in My Village,’ a youth journalism project supported by UNICEF, the Children’s Radio Foundation and other partners in conjunction with the global football tournament. Young reporters trained by the programme are encouraged to document their lives and speak out about the issues affecting their lives.
While some of the boys and girls in the group radio discussion agree with Inonge, others are not so convinced.
“Football is a very hard sport, and it requires maximum power to perform, so girls are not suitable to play it,” says Pedrou Kakorio, 18.
Both Pedrou and Inonge were trained in journalism as part of World Cup in My Village. Along with other adolescents in Mongu, Zambia and the Rubavu district of Rwanda, they received audio recorders, cameras and flip video cameras – and were taught the skills needed to tell their own stories.
The project gives young reporters the opportunity to explore pressing concerns in their communities and share their experiences with the rest of the world. Their audio reports will be broadcast on local, national and international radio stations; and additional content will be posted on the Children’s Radio Foundation website and disseminated via social media platforms.
In addition to media training, World Cup in My Village is providing access to coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2010 matches for young people in areas of Zambia and Rwanda where there is little or no electricity or broadcast service. Large open-air screens and projectors have been set up to screen the matches from 11 June to 11 July.
Between football matches, special public service announcements produced by UNICEF and partners will provide the audience – which is largely cut off from mainstream sources of information – with information about education, health and child protection.
The public viewing spaces will also be used for community events such, as youth football games, and for educational activities on AIDS awareness and prevention. During the half-time periods of the FIFA World Cup 2010 matches, the youth journalists from World Cup in My Village will conduct interviews with their peers and host live radio talk shows to sensitize young audiences about community issues.
One participant in the programme, Mubanga Chimywembe, 17, explains that radio is a great way to reach out to youth in her area, and that she hopes to inspire them to listen and to act. “I want to change the youth out there in Zambia, so they become better citizens in the future,” she says.
Mubanga plans to organize radio debates about HIV and AIDS with other young Zambians in her region, and to encourage them to undertake voluntary HIV counselling and testing.
“As youth, let us work hand-in-hand and unite for whatever action that we take,” says Mubanga. “Anything said without an action is dead.”