MASERU 18thOctober, 2014 – A multi-activity commemoration of the 25 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC@25) began in Lesotho with United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Media Institute of Southern Africa Lesotho Chapter (MISA Lesotho) and Lesotho Netball Association (LNA) partnering to implement a range of country wide awareness raising activities.
MISA Lesotho activities include workshops for editors, journalists and children to ventilate on the role of the media in promoting children rights and their protection while introducing children to basic news production for print and electronic media.
At a workshop this morning editors committed to providing space for children to express themselves in the issues that affect them.
Lintle Ramatla of Thaha-Khube FM radio in Maseru lamented that as the media they have not been reporting children’s issues well. She confessed that most of the time they concentrate on negative plight of the children. She argues that positive reporting on children will go a long way in making Lesotho a better place for children.
Malume Mohale, Communications for Development specialists at UNICEF appealed to editors to take the CRC@25 as an opportunity to examine Lesotho’s progress and refocus the country’s agenda for attainment of CRC aspirations.
“Let’s give children chance to express themselves” Malume Mohale said adding that the media should be characterised by children voices on every reports about children.
Lydia Musa, Founder of the Lesotho Child Counselling Unit, requested editors to help children participate in the media in a responsible manner so that their messages should not be undermined by irresponsible language and attitudes.
Nkoale Ts’oana of Moeletsi oa Basotho newspaper argued that there were so many positive things done by children, but they go unreported because the media was focussing on politics and negative issues.
“We have left children out in the affairs of this country. The media houses have to strategize and have robust programes for the benefit of children”, said Ts’oana.
The workshop proposed a programme of action which seeks to intensify children participation through the media. It was emphasised that every activity on the CRC@25 should be reported by children and editors would put concerted efforts to assist and mentor children to report stories on their media.
The editors meeting was followed by newswriting training for 20 children drawn from various schools in Maseru and it was also attended by 10 journalists.
In the last weekend MISA Lesotho deployed children to cover the launch of the LNA CRC@25campaign and they were reporting live on Radio Spes Nostra’s children programme called Le Bona Ba Na Le Lentsoe– They too have a voice. The children were also collection information for a specialised publication on the CRC@25.
MISA Lesotho Media and Children Project Officer, ‘Matselane Mosoaboli said one of the CRC@25 strength is to have children reporting a range of activities country wide. She disclosed that in the next two weeks MISA Lesotho will hold two training workshops for children reporters in partnership with World Vision International Lesotho and LCCU to make the CRC@25 a true business for children in Lesotho.
While Lesotho is faced by challenges like high child mortality rate, stunting and malnutrition, it has enacted The Child Welfare Protection Act of 2011 which said to be one of the best pieces of legislation in Africa.
Maseru 18th Octber, 2014