Growing up as a child in South Sudan means being confronted at all too young an age with the consequences of war, violence, corruption, poverty and ill-health. In its radio program ‘Our Voices, Our Future’ Free Press Unlimited draws attention to these difficult issues in a way that is easy for children to understand. Specifically by allowing them to have their say. In this way, they can get a better grip on their environment and on their future.

¨Listen to each other!¨

¨We are still at war because we do not forgive, because we do not listen to each other,¨ declares a child with complete conviction in a program on peacebuilding. If only those in power in South Sudan had as much insight …. Because ever since its founding in 2011 this young state has been caught up in bloody conflicts. It is one of the most violent countries in the world with a very poor human rights and press freedom record.

Despite this ‘Our Voices, Our Future’ does not shy away from these challenging issues. The program is made for and by South Sudanese children. Often they themselves report on what is happening in their country, under the guidance of experienced journalists. In this way, not only they, but also the young listeners learn to think about the future of their country.

Together with adult program makers the kids decide upon the subjects to be featured. Matters such as schooling, parents, HIV and AIDS, children´s rights and peer pressure. The program is broadcast nationwide by Radio Miraya in Arabic and in English and has an audience of more than one hundred thousand listeners.

Children have a voice

Since the start of the project in 2013 more than one hundred boys and girls have learnt how to make a radio program. Not only are they given a voice, they are also introduced to the basic principles of journalism. They also learn a lot about the technical aspects of program making. The children come from various South Sudanese states, in particular Eastern Equatoria, Central Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal. The adult journalists have also been trained in how to connect with the experiences of children in their country.

¨It is important that a great deal of energy is devoted into combating human rights infringements now in South Sudan, all the more if they involve children. Access to information and giving a voice to those who otherwise would not be heard is essential,¨ says Taban Richard, presenter of ‘Our Voices, Our Future. A statement that Free Press Unlimited fully endorses. Because the youth of today will provide the leaders of the future in South Sudan.

Listen to the episodes of ‘Our Voices, Our Future’.