The Children’s Radio Foundation have reported some exciting project developments that have occurred in 2014, including their work on World Aids Day.
The most successful of this years interventions have been the live monthly radio broadcasts at Nolungile Youth Clinic (Cape Town, South Africa). The youth-led events host candid talks from visiting speakers, and entertain with local artists who perform on the open mic. The event is held together by an open debate allowing the youth reporters to meaningfully engage visiting and clinic-using youth around the chosen topic. Some of the topics selected over the course of the project have included ‘Freedom in Health’, ‘Imagining Our Future: an HIV-free Africa’, and ‘Loving yourself: self-love as a way to prevent infection’. Due to an ongoing LGBTI focus within the radio broadcasts, the events also have created a sense of community for members of the local LGBTI community. The clinic has become a place where they meet, socialise, learn from others, and participate in debates.
According to 20 year-old Future Positive youth reporter Zuko Mkutyukelwa, “I think the monthly shows do a lot of work for people outside. Because some guys think that they can’t go to the clinic…they think it’s only for ladies, females only. But when we host a show there are males and females present, so if they come they get knowledge to understand that the males also come to the clinic. And I think we are trying to invite more people into the clinic to change their point of views, to change how they see the clinic.”
The monthly events have also become a place where other civil society organisations (CSOs) are invited to participate in making the event relevant to a wider community and to create awareness of their respective services. The events have not only allowed the youth to hone their skills as leaders and educators, but have also allowed them to speak freely and share their views about health issues. It has allowed them to feel comfortable in this youth-friendly clinic space, to direct their own course of learning, and to communicate with the nurses and staff in a way not usually available to them on a typical clinic day. CSO partner Nicholas Mabulu from Ubuntu Africa reflected on the benefits of being part of the Future Positive network. “A partnership with Future Positive has helped in building our kids’ self-esteem through participation in the process of being young reporters. We have also been able to network with influential people that have assisted us in our curriculum module on motivational speaking on HIV. The involvement of Future Positive in our programs has increased dialogue within our youth groups on topics related to challenges of youth in Khayelitsha.”
On Monday the 1st of December, the OR Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha, Cape Town exploded with an estimated three thousand young people in support of the annual World Aids Day event. In and around the hall were activities geared to engage youth attending the event. Various organizations supplied condoms and pamphlets at their stands, while others offered HIV testing stations. The Future Positive pop-up radio booth had a stream of youth surprised to find themselves in the thick of youth-led debates and conversations. The first hour of the broadcast was led by Future Positive reporters Masinga Luzipho and Zibele Nomangola, who asked the attentive onlookers to participate in unpacking the topic of ‘what can parents learn from their children?’ According to Future Positive Director Lesedi Mogoatlhe, “Youth and parents alike took to the roaming microphone to share their personal stories and to debate their contrasting views, while others listened, nodded in approval, or protested loudly to what they disagreed with. The pop-up radio booth allowed young people to share their own experiences, and to learn from those of others. While the event was chanting the slogan ‘Phantsi nge stigma’ (Down with stigma), the reporters were unpacking the myriad ways stigma unfolds in their lives and in their community.” See attached photos of the event.
The Siyaziwa Radio Club includes youth between the ages of 19-30 years from Future Positive’s network partners Health4Men and Free Gender. The group of 10 LGBTI youth were trained by the Future Positive task team as facilitators who produce audio content that focuses on the issues of LGBTI and HIV and AIDS. After a comprehensive training of trainers in March 2014, the group has met regularly to share best practices on how to use radio techniques to facilitate difficult conversations within the youth groups in their respective organisations. The Siyaziwa participants are made up of youth living in Khayelitsha, a township with high rates of homophobic acts of violence and injustice. The group has focused on recording community dialogues about the sensitive topics of LGBTI and HIV discrimination and stigma. The recorded dialogues are now being used to create a solid foundation for an audio drama that the group is working on as a way to capture the nuances of the experiences of LGBTI youth in churches, schools, clinics, and within the greater community of Khayelitsha. 2015 will mark the launch of both the Siyaziwa audio drama series, as well as a monthly LGBTI show on Radio Zibonele.
In 2014 Future Positive extended its network to include youth from the Pediatric and Adolescent Care Clinic (PACC) based at Ubuntu Clinic in Site B, Khayelitsha. The group of youth aged between 11 and 17 years old are in a program initiated by MSF to tackle the ongoing challenge of keeping young patients adherent to their HIV treatment. While the doctors, nurses and clinic personnel work together in innovative ways to ensure adherence to medication, psychosocial care is equally important. In operation since August, Future Positive’s radio club forms a major part of their psychosocial intervention. The youth have chosen the name ‘Teenager’s Radio Club,’ and in weekly production workshops they share intimate experiences with one another and record audio stories that allow them to speak candidly about the different stages of their treatment process. The young reporters have taken full ownership of their learning, suggesting possible themes and topics, as well as looking forward to producing their first 30-minute radio programs in 2015.