Passion and pride: Young people take to the radio

María Faget is Family Care International’s Regional Advisor in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Last month, 21 young people from five Andean countries spent four days together learning radio production skills, recording professional-quality radio shows, and developing strategies for fighting teen pregnancy. The engine driving their work was the passion of these young people for their communities, and their outrage at the difficult realities they see around them every day. Motivated by their commitment to sexual and reproductive rights,  and fascinated by radio’s potential  to communicate positive messages to their peers,  these young people parted at the end of the workshop with pride,  satisfaction, and many new friendships.

Radio workshop, Bogota, ColombiaAll of this occurred at an innovative workshop, organized by FCI, that was held in Tenjo, near Bogotá, Colombia, as part of youth-participation component of the Andean Plan for the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (PLANEA). The workshop was conducted with financial support from UNFPA and the International Foundation,

Participants learned to use familiar stories, interviews, commentaries, and musical effects to illustrate various facets of teen pregnancy. Working with two professional audio editors and facilitators from Caracola Consultants, they ultimately succeeded in writing, producing, and recording seven complete radio programs.

One young participant summed up the experience like this:

I am so motivated, excited, pleased, and happy with all that we achieved in this workshop, the quality of speakers we met, and the friends from different countries whom we lived with. There is no way to say thank you … Now it is up to us to show, in the work we do back in our countries, how much this has empowered us.

To view a slideshow of the workshop, click here, and to hear their radio shows, click here.


Taller de producción radial: Pasión y orgullo

María Faget es Acesora Regional de Family Care International en  América Latina y el Caribe.

Estos dos conceptos pueden resumir lo que ocurrió durante los 3 1/2 días del taller de producción radial liderado por Caracola Consultores en las afueras de Bogotá.  En el marco de las actividades en participación juvenil del PLANEA, FCI, con apoyo financiero del UNFPA y de The International Foundation  organizó este encuentro-taller para fortalecer la articulación de las redes juveniles y su capacidad de comunicación e incidencia política. 

En esta oportunidad, veintiún jóvenes de 5 países del área andina trabajaron de sol a sol orientados por las facilitadoras, y con apoyo adicional de dos editores de audio lograron su meta: completar 7 programas radiales pregrabados

El reto estuvo claro desde el inicio: a través de una historia conocida, mediante entrevistas, comentarios, musicalización  y otros recursos de la crónica o el reportaje, cada uno de los 7 grupos debía mostrar una faceta del embarazo en la adolescencia y dejar un mensaje. La realización paso a paso de los programas fue un proceso muy rico de creatividad,  análisis y crítica participativa que además fortaleció el aprendizaje individual.

El esfuerzo durante el taller tuvo como motor la pasión de estos jóvenes por su trabajo en las comunidades. Movilizados por los temas de derechos sexuales y reproductivos, indignados por las realidades que ven en su entorno, conmovidos por los casos particulares, fascinados por las posibilidades de la comunicación y en particular de la radio, pusieron todo su espíritu y todo su empeño en la tarea creativa.  Los resultados fueron inmediatos, y el orgullo y la satisfacción de los y las jóvenes, manifestados claramente en sus evaluaciones sobre el taller  están plenamente justificados.

Los productos, las fotografías y los testimonios son – más que ningún informe – prueba de lo ocurrido y de lo logrado durante el encuentro.  Véanlos a continuación.

FCI at the United Nations High Level Meeting on Youth

Amy Boldosser is Senior Program Officer for Global Advocacy at Family Care International.

Yesterday at the United Nations, youth from around the world came together with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, government representatives and heads of UN agencies to open the two-day (July 25-26, 2011) United Nations High Level Meeting on Youth.  This meeting marks the culmination of the International Year of Youth which included  regional youth consultations, campaigns and a year of hard work by youth advocates globally. The High Level Meeting (HLM) has the theme “Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding” and we’re hoping that these two days lead not only to improved dialogue and understanding but also to new commitments and concrete action from governments and UN agencies to protect and improve youth health and rights.

Speaking on the first thematic panel of the day, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, noted that the world population will reach 7 billion people this year and that 1.8 billion of those people are youth. Echoing the calls of youth advocates to see the largest ever youth population as part of the solution to global issues rather than as a challenge, Dr. Osotimehin referred to the “demographic bonus” of having a strong generation of young people who are helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are at the forefront of advocating for protecting our environment in the Rio+20 process, and who are working hard to ensure and promote youth sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to comprehensive sexuality education.

Youth advocates participating in the HLM are highlighting the importance of bringing the perspectives, needs, and innovative ideas of young people to the international debate on development and achieving the Millennium Development goals. Leila Mucarsel, a sexual and reproductive health advocate from Argentina who also spoke on the first panel, defined real youth participation as ensuring  youth involvement in all levels of policymaking and programming-including planning, budgeting, development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. Juan Camilo Saldarriaga from Costa Rica, an International Planned Parenthood Western Hemisphere youth advocate who spoke at a side event, called for an end to “tokenism,” government officials simply meeting with youth to say they’ve done so, rather than actually taking into account the needs and demands of youth.  Other youth advocates noted that youth participation goes beyond inviting a young person to sit at the table while adults make decisions but rather should include creating mechanisms to ensure that youth have the power to contribute to shaping programs and policies that affect them.

Unfortunately, the HLM itself has had mixed results on achieving youth participation. Youth advocates lamented the limited access they had to influence the Outcome Document for this High Level Meeting, many governments did not include any youth delegates in their country delegations to the meeting, and the panels and roundtables at the HLM often had more adult speakers than youth speakers. The young mayor of Geneva, 33 year old  Pierre Maudet who was a part of the Swiss delegation to the HLM, noted that governments are sometimes reticent to have youth speak out because they risk hearing criticisms, dissent and demands, but that when governments take that risk they also hear enthusiastic and important new ideas and innovative solutions to the needs of their populations.

In his remarks at the opening session of the HLM, the Secretary-General asked the youth delegates whether the UN was doing enough for youth. The resounding response from the crowd was, “No!” The Secretary-General responded, “Then we need to do more.” Youth advocates will continue their work to hold him to that promise.

For more updates from the 2011 High Level Meeting on Youth:

Read The Youth Coalition’s newsletter from the HLM The Watchdog

Watch the live webcasts from the High Level Meeting on Youth

And on Twitter, follow @familycareintl and these youth organizations that make up the Sexual and Reproductive Rights Caucus at the HLM: @youth_coalition, @YouAct_Europe, @AdvocatesTweets, @YPEER, @ippf, @GYCA, @ippf_WHR. For more tweets from the HLM, check out the hashtags #youth11 and #IYY