The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on all local broadcasters to evolve the overall children expansion by producing content that features the plight of children.
Speaking at UNICEF Botswana Children’s Month in Broadcasting (BCMB) at Avani hotel recently, UNICEF’s Country Representative, Julianna Lindsey said the theme for the month long program is “Botlhale jwa phala bo tswa phalaneng, countdown to 2019”, a vernacular idiom that simply implies that elders can still learn a lot from children.
Lindsey said there is a need to produce content that can help breakdown gender stereotypes and reduce discrimination: an animation that both teaches and entertains children. She said quite astounding is that children make up 36% of the country’s population, a major portion that need to be addressed on issues such as education, health care and sports among others.
Lindsey added that the proportion of young voters during elections has steadily increased which amongst democracy right is a true sign that children need to be engaged from a younger age. “It is an important opportunity for radio and television stations to focus on issues that affect the children, and more importantly for children themselves to take to the airwaves to talk about issues that influence their lives.
Often times the children have shown that they can be the change makers in policies of their countries. There are numerous examples one can look up to such as South Africa’s Soweto uprising of 1976.” Responding to the plea, Duma FM Programmes Manager Donald Seberane said quite recently local radio stations have demonstrated an eagerness to help promote children’s programmes. He said as such his station is leading the pack as they already have a show strictly targeted towards children as it deals and addresses their concerns.
For his part, Vice President and incoming Botswana President, Mokgweetsi Masisi who was a guest of honor at the official launch BCMB highlighted the importance of giving children the platform to be free. However, Masisi said despite children being future leaders, he was utterly disappointed by men who continue to abandon their children in alarming numbers. He said this trend is worrisome in Botswana and should be nipped in the bud before things reach alarming proportions.
“I stand before you today, as a man and father, and as such I would like to speak to all men. A lot of us have abandoned our children, one gets to wonder how their future is going to get possible in such abandonment. I therefore pledge to fight against the abandonment of children,” said Masisi.