From Allison Hicking, a Communication Specialist in the UNICEF Jamaica office, comes this inspiring report:
Four of Jamaica’s top radio stations will be hosting a small group of children and young people who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, to discuss topics that the children themselves have identified as being most important and relevant to their lives. A couple of these stations have a good history of involving children in producing/hosting programmes, but in general the Jamaican broadcast media in general don’t do very well with children’s participation of this kind. So we are excited about this ICDB.
Through a UNICEF-supported programme, 18 kids have been trained in media techniques over the last year by the PANOS Institute of the Caribbean, whose mission is to amplify the voices of the poor and marginalized through the media. This group has gone on to produce several media/advocacy products including PSAs and a 10-minute documentary about stigma and discrimination. Each of the programmes on March 1st will host between 1-3 children from this group.
We are finalizing the topics for discussion, but so far the suggested areas are:
– Life with HIV: including a) the issue of drugs and social practices in relation to taking ARVs; b) the importance of attending school without fear of stigma and discrimination and (c) generally getting people to understand that HIV positive does not mean the end because young people who live with HIV also plan for their future – wanting a good education, a good job and a family.
– Parenting and Teen Sexuality: how parents cope with their teenager’s sexuality, particularly if the teenager becomes HIV positive and/or pregnant.
– Entertainment: the role entertainers play in promoting responsible/irresponsible sexual practices and how this links with HIV transmission.