What We Are Doing
Sierra Leone: Children organise the biggest radio relay for Race for Survival 24 Jul 2015
Written by Abdulai Bunduka, Information and Communication Officer, Save the Children in Sierra Leone
As part of their Race for Survival, children from across Sierra Leone have successfully planned and hosted the biggest ever radio relay in the country. It was an amazing event organised by children themselves, where they discussed the issues that mattered to them the most - their rights and their survival - and making recommendations to national and district leaders.
The event started in the northern province where the relay passed on from one district's radio station to the next up until they covered all five districts in a day. The same was done in the eastern and the southern provinces respectively. The next day the relay finally reached the Western Area, the seat of power. Our Race for Survival radio relay actually seized major airwaves in the capital city of Freetown making sure that everyone who was listening to the radio heard children discuss the issues of child survival.
The relay segment in western province was more like a national event which targeted His Excellency the President and the Vice President, parliamentarians, government ministers and other key national key stakeholders as well as international/development partners. The exercise created a huge impact on the general audience, as the children received positive feedback from listeners through text messages and phone-in sessions.
“I’m really impressed with the way the children are taking up issues about their future development. I hope the authorities would listen and work on their demands”, say Olayinka Laggah, Commissioner, National Children Commission of Sierra Leone. There was also positive response from people across the country. All those who contributed to the radio relay commended the children for such a great initative and for putting the authorities on their toes to do more for the children of Sierra Leone.
“One good thing we realized during the planning and organizing of the radio relay was that we the children through the different networks became more united and worked together to achieve the same goal. This even earned us the support of stakeholders and they happily participated in the process providing certain facilities”, says Alusine Bangura of African Youth and Children’s Network (AYCN).
As the race continues, children are currently engaging stakeholders to present their position paper that will take place in the first week of August. The children of Sierra Leone are determined and they want to ensure that their voices are heard and issues affecting them are captured in the new global development agenda - the Sustainable Development Goals. The entire process will culminate in a flashmob, in which the children will hold out messages at key public locations to reinforce their position on issues they want their government to address.
Key asks from the children
We want free and quality education for children. The schools should be child friendly with water and toilet facilities. We want free healthcare service for all children and not only under-five. Teachers should also commit their time in the class room.’- Mohamed Kunta- Children representative to the National Commission for Children in Sierra Leone.
By 2030 we want to see children or young people taking the lead on national issues related to the development’- Haja Fanta- Preseident Children’s Forum Network (CFN)
We want to see the end of Child Marriage. We need education and not bride price’; “Law enforcers should fully implement laws against child rights abuses – Mary Cole- Community Concern Children
Free healthcare for children should be included in the constitution to become a law- Lovetta Kamara