Every other Wednesday Rovshen Abylov, the young Turkmen TV anchor, greets viewers on the channel “Yashlyk” (translated as “youth”) and invites them to explore the world of childhood in the newly produced TV show named “Children’s Soul”. Aired specifically for young viewers, the new show introduces children to all possible concepts pertaining to their rights, development and participation. And they will be preparing a special show for this year’s ICDB.
Children’s TV show is a new initiative of Turkmenistan Yashlyk youth channel and the United Nations Children’s Fund that aims at advancing overall child development through high quality programming and broadening children’s outlook by increasing their access to ideas and promoting critical thinking and participation in social and cultural life through media.
Each episode of the “Children’s soul” is structured into three segments covering the issues of health, education, rights, sports, nutrition, environmental protection, culture, art, science and other themes that are of interest to children of Turkmenistan. The episodes take a form of the talk or discussion, feature stories, field visits, invitation of celebrities to the show, games, songs, cartoons, short social films, demonstration and discussion of books.
“The idea of producing a new TV show for children together with UNICEF occurred when I participated in the One Minute Junior Video workshop on children’s rights, organized by UNICEF and the Ministry of Culture and TV and Radio Broadcasting of Turkmenistan,” starts his story Rovshen Abylov, a twenty year old TV professional who is combining his TV experience with an undergraduate study at the State Institute of Culture majoring in TV production. “It was at the workshop that I understood how awareness of rights and development issues could help children grow up healthy, educated and protected in Turkmenistan. I decided to initiate a dialogue between Yashlyk channel and UNICEF to create a child-friendly programme that would boost both, children’s learning and contribute to their development and I succeeded,” adds Rovshen proudly.
Television plays a central role in the lives of children these days. In Turkmenistan, children that comprise one third of the country’s population, turn to TV more often because there are very few other media resources available for them. With low internet availability and lack of children’s print media, Turkmenistan children find television a major source for information, education and entertainment.
“With almost every family having access to the national television in Turkmenistan, we expect that the new TV show produced by Yashlyk channel and supported in part by UNICEF will reach the majority of children in the country,” says Abdul Alim, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan. “The new show allows children to learn about health, education, nutrition or any other issues related to their wellbeing, and creates opportunities for ordinary schoolchildren to participate at the show by telling their stories or sending their creative works for the contests announced during the show. UNICEF is pleased to be engaged in the initiative that promotes children’s participation in media and we hope that the Government will further increase child-friendly print and electronic media,” adds Mr. Abdul Alim.
Rovshen and his production team have already aired three biweekly issues of the “Children’s Soul” show, which were filmed with children in various parts of Turkmenistan. For Gulchinar Gogusheva, 16 year old schoolgirl, the show has become a part of her life. Gulchinar leads one of the segments of the show where she demonstrates hand made things that children can do themselves at leisure time.
“I am so excited about being a part of the new show and feel proud that children recognize me when I walk in the streets. It is a great opportunity for me to interact with children and become a TV professional,” says Gulchinar.
Now Rovshen and his team are getting prepared for a new episode, devoted to the International Day of Children’s Broadcasting that will air on first Sunday of March this year. “Once we broadcast the show, we would like to submit the episode for the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting contest and I truly hope that we will succeed,” notes Rovshen with excitement while heading to a local school to film the next issue of the show.