This unique radio service has been in existence since 2005. Each week an hour-long program produced and presented by a group of 27 children’s aired on 4 radio stations. Each program is built around a theme and includes information, interviews with studio guests, and views from parents and vox pop comments from people on the street.
The program is currently aimed at the 8-14 age group and entertainment slots chosen and produced by children augment thematic content.
The children select the themes with additions from the counselors from the Child Helpline who report on the issues children are presenting with. In all cases, information on how and where to reach assistance, especially the 116 Child HelpLine, is given.
Uitani Radio children are also often asked to participate in discussions on issues, which concern them. Highlights have been Uitani’s participation in the United Nation’s A World fit for Children plus 5 in 2007 in New York, at the end of which Longeni Matsi from Uitani made a speech in the UN General Assembly on behalf of the children of the world. Closer to home Uitani children participated in important consultations on the Child Care and Protection Bill in 2010.
The Uitani team is made up of 27 children, selected through open auditions and from a variety of social backgrounds that volunteer their time each week to participate. An unexpected benefit is that most children choose to remain with the program for several years, incrementally building their broadcasting and peer support skills.
Three radio production students through an agreement with the College of the Arts, who volunteer their time in exchange for valuable work experience, support the participating children. A two-person team from LLCL coordinates the program.
The participating children are offered various training opportunities, ranging from the technical aspects of researching, producing and presenting programs, through to opportunities for building teamwork, self-esteem and knowledge.
The main activities of Uitani ChildLine Radio take place at LifeLine/ChildLine’s Head Office in Windhoek, where in-house studio and editing facilities are used to make the programs. The children occupy their own adjoining space, designed by them, in which they do their preparations and research and meet socially and to discuss their work.
In addition to the Windhoek team, inserts for the programs are recorded with children who participate in child protection committees, which LLCL runs in schools in North Central, Kavango, Hardap and Khomas. In this way the content reflects the opinions and experiences of children outside the capital city and has become multi-lingual.
Uitani Listener’s Club
4 Listeners clubs consisting of 60 children who give feedback on the programs and make suggestions based on their life experiences.