Child Rights Awareness Campaign
Behavior Change Objectives of the Campaign:
- Increase the number of children between 6 and 17 years who are aware and can articulate their rights and the laws that protect them.
- Increase the awareness of caregivers on child rights and protection laws.
- Identify vulnerable children who have concerns that can be addressed.
- Create awareness of services, support, and protection available among orphans and vulnerable children.
In partnership with PSI/Zimbabwe, Children First developed two 26-week radio campaign programs in the two main local languages (Shona and Ndebele) to raise awareness of children's issues and promote children's rights. The Shona program, Kuziwa Mbuya Huudzwa first aired on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation's Radio Zimbabwe in October 2009. The Ndebele program, Luthando first aired in November 2009. The two dramas addressed the issues of:
- Education and health
- Stigma and discrimination because of HIV and AIDS
- All forms of child abuse
- Gender related practices disadvantaging girls
- Excessive child labor
- Children with disabilities
- Child trafficking
- Children's rights to protection
- Child neglect
- Drugs and substance abuse
The scripts were based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, as well as other children's legislation in Zimbabwe. Orphans and vulnerable children between the ages of 6 and 17 were the primary target audience of the radio programs. The dramas also targeted caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children, child protection committees, teachers, and school development committees.
Child Rights CD Listener Program
In the second stage of the Child Rights Awareness Campaign, Children First distributed CD players and CDs with recorded episodes of the radio drama program to Children First partners in order to expand the reach of the radio program to the thousands of orphans and vulnerable children who do not have access to a radio on a regular basis. With assistance from local writers, illustrators and the radio drama production teams, Children First transferred the radio drama episodes to CD listening modules. Each module was accompanied by a set of interactive materials consisting of activities such as quizzes and writing and drawing exercises, as well as a facilitator’s guide. The materials and CDs covered relevant legislation such as The African Charter on the Rights of the Child, and were pre-tested at the Maulana School of Orphans, in Epworth (a low income Harare suburb) and Sihlengeni Primary I in Umzigwane district.
To ensure that orphans and vulnerable children would be able to listen to the programs, CDs were played in partner or community-facilitated interactive listening groups in schools and other central locations. By confining the program to listening groups, Children First ensures that the program can monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the program and control quality. The sessions are facilitated by an adult who is trained in psychosocial support and reproductive health by using a facilitator's guide pack. Viewers receive interactive booklets that are used to generate discussions around issues raised during the radio listening sessions. In addition, a psychosocial support box (PSS Box) is placed in a convenient location where viewers can note personal issues they are experiencing and would like to have addressed in private.
Child Rights Comic Books
Due to some of the electricity challenges with the CD Listener Program, Children First decided to integrate a visual component into the program. In addition, Children First wanted to improve the sustainability of the program by creating a resource that could be used in schools for years to come. Children First engaged teachers from local schools who then worked with a local artist and illustrator, Joel Chikware, to develop a series of comic books based on the content of the CD Listener Program.
On top of providing an alternative learning method to the audio program, the comic books are a child-friendly and fun way for students to learn about child rights, responsibilities and child protection issues. The comic books helps children to grasp these concepts through the use of visual media, and children who are unable to read can understand the message through the picture stories.
The comic books are available in two vernacular languages: the Shona version, Kuziva Mbuya Huudzwa and the Ndebele version, Luthando.