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Journalism training coming for children

Journalism training coming for children


by Omesha Spence 17.APR.09

Children and adolescents will soon have the opportunity to have their voices strengthened and heard throughout the Caribbean. This is being made possible through the establishment of a UNICEF Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Adolescent Media Network.{{more}}

The network is being established as a forum for young persons to air their views on social issues. These issues include child poverty, HIV/AIDS, the environment and education. Children and adolescents will also run the network.

A Planning meeting was held on Monday, 6 April, 2009, at the UN house, Barbados, to come up with a work plan and training programme for four of the ten countries in which the network will operate. The countries represented at the workshop were Antigua, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The interactive session featured presentations by Tom Olsen, UNICEF representative, who told the participants of his experiences on his trip to Orissa, a poverty stricken part of India where children were trained to become reporters to tell of their life struggles. Some of those struggles include the lack of education and poor health conditions.

Freelance Journalist and UNICEF Barbados representative Nicole Murray and Christaniesha Soleyn of the Latin America and Caribbean Adolescent Journalists Network made a presentation on their trip to El Salvador to participate in the LACVOX (Latin American and the Caribbean Voices) network. The network focused on establishing a connection between Latin American and Caribbean states, which would improve participation and interaction of youth in those states to tell of their struggles and challenges as youth in their societies.

The Eastern Caribbean adolescent Media network meeting also featured a thorough discussion among the adolescent Journalists present about the challenges faced in their own country pertaining to youth Journalism, improvements and possible forums for presentation of a Regional Adolescent Network and the implementation of training programmes scheduled to take place in each country represented. St. Vincent and the Grenadines was represented by Searchlight’s Omesha Spence.

The network will take 18 months to set up and will come on stream in three phases. Phase one will include training and meetings with Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The second phase will reach countries such as British Virgin Islands, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, while the third phase will involve Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Other Facilitators included UNICEF Communications Specialist Patrick Knight, Julius Gittens of the Caribbean Association of Media Workers and Lorraine Blank who presented the need for a Social Policy tool kit, informing state countries on the meaning of social policy to their work. Themes such as the definition of social policy, vulnerability, and policy analysis were addressed.

The training of interested children and adolescents will include training in basic journalism skills, research, film and video editing and a summer camp which will be held in this regard involving the four countries of the first phase of the network.