An innovative Media training for youth in Haiti

February 2, 2012


By: Rudina Vojvoda -

New York, 30 January, 2012 – With 43 per cent of its people under 18 years old, Haiti has one of the youngest populations in the world. Yet the country’s young people continue to suffer from a lack of opportunities and remain vulnerable in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

Before the quake, 55 per cent of children were missing out on their right to an education. Despite post-disaster efforts to return children to the classroom, many remain out of school. Additionally, issues related to child development receive little attention, especially outside urban areas.

To highlight the challenges faced by youth, UNICEF and partners PANOS Caribbean and Fondation haitienne d’Aide aux Vulnérables are providing media training to vulnerable children. In these trainings, young people learn how to use radio and video equipment, write reports and take pictures to bring attention to the needs and challenges facing their peers.

UNICEF moderator Femi Oke discussed this innovative program with three of its organizers: Margarette Altidor, President of Fondation haitienne d’Aide aux Vulnérables; Jean-Jacques Simon, UNICEF Haiti Chief of Communication; and Jan Voordouw, Programme Coordinator  of PANOS Caribbean.

Youth participation

According to Mr. Simon, the project has successfully helped children address their concerns about education, health sanitation and other aspects of day-to-day life.

“We have created unique productions where you can understand what the children of Haiti are going through,” said Mr. Simon. “The scars are not completely healed, and one of the goals here is to prepare youth for the future. Building the future of this country is one big challenge, but it’s a challenge that youth must be part of.”

Discussing opportunities for young people, Mrs. Altidor called on Haitian institutions to play a bigger role in training and educating young people. “It’s not only a job for the international organizations, but Haitian organizations, too. Young people in Haiti should try to do their best,” said Mrs. Altidor.

Tools for survival

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti was one of the largest to strike the Caribbean in the last two centuries. More than 220,000 people were killed in the disaster, and over a million remained displaced one year later. During catastrophes like this, and in the recovery phase that follows, communication is a crucial survival tool.

“It is when the population needs the information the most,” said Mr. Voordouw, pointing out that the media skills children learned during their training were not only marketable talents for the participants, but a benefit to the community as well.

“In the Haitian culture, children can be seen but cannot be heard, so when it happens, [it] can be very useful,” he continued.

And the children’s stories are having an effect.

“The problems get solved,” Mr. Voordouw said. “We have had some indications that domestic violence went down after the children spoke about it.”

Source: UNICEF






Youth Blast, the official young people’s event for Rio+20, to be held in June 2012

February 1, 2012

By: Brendan

Over two thousand young people are expected to converge on Rio de Janeiro during the “Youth Blast” to share their skills and prepare for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

This event is being organized by the UNCSD Major Group of Children and Youth as the official young people’s event for Rio+20. The purpose of the Youth Blast is to empower children and youth present at Rio+20. The goals of the Blast are to provide information and training for leaders around the CSD and provide a space for young people to share best practices for implementing solutions and participating in decision-making at the international level. It is also an event to strategize prior to Rio+20

To involve as many Brazilian young people as possible, our Youth Blast starts with two days (8th and 9th June 2012) of strategizing and preparations in Portuguese. We are also liaising with national youth networks to ensure as much involvement as possible in the preparatory process. All young people are welcome to attend. However, if you do not speak Portuguese, please make a note of it when you are registering as we have limited numbers of translators available…

The international preparations on the 10th until the 12th of June 2012 will be conducted in English and are aimed at all young people. There will be translators (Portuguese, Spanish and French) for those who do not speak English. Based on current projections, we are expecting over 2000 young people to attend our four day event per day.

The UN CSD Major Group are also in discussions about organizing a one day event closer to Rio+20 itself for final strategizing–date to be confirmed soon.

If you are interested in attending…register now on the MGCY website:

If you have any questions please contact and she will forward the emails to our Steering Committee or relevant individuals.

If you have questions regarding funding please check out the participation guide for tips on how to fundraise

Source: Rio+twenties
If you wish to register go to

Selena Gomez performs sold out concert to benefit UNICEF

January 27, 2012

Posted by UNICEF USA

UNICEF Ambassador Selena Gomez held her 2nd Annual Charity Concert benefitting UNICEF on Friday, January 20, at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, CA. Hosted by Jake Whetter of Radio Disney and joined by special musical guests, Big Time Rush and Noah Guthrie, Selena Gomez & The Scene performed to a sold-out show that raised over $200,000 for UNICEF to provide lifesaving nutrition, clean water, medicine, safety and education to children worldwide.

Prior to the show, Selena hosted a meet and greet and posed for photos with some of her biggest fans.

“Giving back has always been important to me. This concert allows me to connect with my fans in person which is one of the best parts of my job and to raise money for important causes at the same time.  I can’t think of anything I would enjoy doing more,” Gomez said of the charity concert.

Justin Bieber and Ashley Tisdale were in attendance, as well as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham who brought along his three sons to watch Selena perform an acoustic set of her hit songs including “Naturally,” “Bang Bang Bang,” and “Love You Like A Love Song.” Selena also performed a rendition of Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up,” in addition to a moving cover of Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me,” which she dedicated to her mother.

After the show, Selena thanked her fans for their support through Facebook. “Thank you to all who came out to the show last night at House of Blues on Sunset. That is one of the shows I look forward to the most and cannot wait for next year’s show. I don’t have an exact number but together we all raised over 200,000 dollars to benefit UNICEF,” she posted. “We’re helping to save the lives of children all over the world.”

Selena was appointed a UNICEF Ambassador in 2009 and has traveled to Ghana and Chile to witness UNICEF’s work first-hand in the field. She has since supported many of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s events, projects and campaigns, including the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF, the UNICEF TAP Project, and  Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Selena’s first charity concert to benefit UNICEF was held in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF in October 2010.

Photo: Selena Gomez at her 2nd Annual Charity Concert benefitting UNICEF.  Photo courtesy of Michael Simon


Four Haitian Filmmakers explore conditions for children two years after the quake

January 18, 2012

By: Mariana Palavera

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, 12 January 2012 – UNICEF challenged young Haitian filmmakers to reveal how they view their country – and its conditions for children – two years after the January 2010 earthquake.

“This film project is all about listening to the Haitian voice and understanding children’s lives,” said Thomas Nybo, coordinator of the project. “We issued a call for short-film proposals, either fiction or documentaries, and we chose four filmmakers, three of whom are from Cine Institute” – Haiti’s only film school, located in the Southern city of Jacmel.

The short films feature some of the biggest challenges facing Haiti’s children: losing parents to the earthquake; the plight of a girl working as a restavek, a domestic servant; and the challenges, especially economic, confronting families when they send their children to school.

Watch film on Youtube

A range of perspectives
The filmmakers came at the project from a variety of perspectives and backgrounds.

“One of the filmmakers, Pierre Lucson Bellegarde, profiled an older woman who was seriously injured in the earthquake, and adopted two children after the quake, despite living in a camp and being of limited financial means,” said Mr. Nybo.

Mr. Bellegarde became interested in the arts at the age of 7, while he was recovering from surgery.

“After my operation, my best friend was a pencil and a notebook, which held all my secrets,” he said. At Ciné Institute, Mr. Bellegarde trained in cinematography, performance, script writing and sound. His work frequently focuses on the plight of marginalized communities and people living with disabilities.

Michelle Marrion took an unflinching look at a restavek enlisted to be a professional ‘crier’ at a funeral for someone she had never met.

Ms. Marion was born in the United States to Haitian parents, and studied film and photography at Howard University. In 1999, she began her first photographic project in Haiti, and subsequent projects always seemed to bring her back to the country. Since 2009, she has split her time between Haiti and the United States, and is currently working on several international multimedia projects, including a feature-length documentary taking place in Port-au-Prince.

Watch film on Youtube

Families in the aftermath
The other filmmakers explored the theme of families struggling in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Ebby Angel Louis made a playful film about an illiterate father and his mad dash to get his young daughter to school on time using his wheelbarrow.

Mr. Louis is currently a student at Ciné Institute. He grew up in Haiti’s countryside, where his family helped him cultivate an interest in storytelling.

“The countryside was a refuge for me,” he said. “At night after dinner, under a full moon, my grandmother would tell us the family stories of all our cousins.”

Watch film on Youtube

Finally, Macdala Prevot told the story of a teenage girl fighting to keep her family together after the death of her parents.

Ms. Prevot studied at Ciné Institute and has worked on several films as an art director, sound technician, cinematographer and producer. She is also a singer, and in 2010, she travelled to the United States to help record ‘We are the World,’ a song whose proceeds benefited earthquake survivors.

Watch film on Youtube
Together, their films offer a glimpse into the lives and struggles of Haiti’s children.

“By giving a voice to Haiti’s youth,” said UNICEF Representative in Haiti Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans, “we are not only able to listen to what they want to say, but we can also encourage their creativity and we can better understand their reality.”



Art in All of Us

January 17, 2012

In 2005 we began our intensive journey to meet children of the 6 continents in an effort to promote tolerance and cultural understanding through artistic activities. Today, Art in All of Us is a not-for-profit organization recognized for its creative curriculum, art activities and exchanges. AiA has worked in over 150 countries and, in the last 6 years, more than 140,000 children activities (of which includes about 105,000 children in 2011 alone) have participated in our activities. We have also trained numerous schools and NGO’s (including SOS Children Villages and UNICEF, among others) in our creative teaching.

In 2011, AiA reached new schools, new children, new countries, and launched new programs, giving a greater number of individuals more insight into the world and offering them the unique opportunity to express their creativity. In 2011, the 100,000th child participated in our activities.

We are also very proud of what our schools and partners accomplished in Japan. In collaboration with several schools and NGO’s around the world, Art in All of Us decided to repeat its experience in Haiti and ask children of the world to share their solidarity with children of Japan after the terrible Tsunami of March 2011. Read more…

In 2011, we launched our new online free Curriculum (see more here). More than 1100 schools have already downloaded the free kit.

We are very proud of everything AiA has achieved. All of these successes would not have been possible without strengthening our partnerships with local and global NGO’s like UNICEF, or without the continuous growth of our volunteer network. THANK YOU!

Financially however, 2011 has been very hard (as it has been for most small nonprofit organizations), and we expect 2012 to be even tougher. We really count on your support to help us create a more joyful and tolerant school environment and to continue inspiring the children around the world:

- Every coffee table book sold helps us create a more joyful school year for 81 children

- A donation of 60 Euros helps one classroom in the southern hemisphere buy art and creative materials for one year

Additionally, for those who are interested, I am organizing several photo tours this year (Brazil, Madagascar, and North Korea). It is a good way to raise funds, learn about photography and have direct contact with our activities and children around the world. Please email me for more details on these trips.

Wishing you all a joyful and creative 2012,

Anthony and the AiA team

Latest photos of our activities can be followed on facebook here

Founder Art in All of Us

UNICEF is proud to announce the winners of the 2011 International Children’s Day of Broadcasting Awards

January 16, 2012

The International Children’s Day of Broadcasting, celebrated the first Sunday of March, is a day when broadcasters around the world “Tune in to Kids.” They air quality programming by, for and about children. But most of all, they allow children to be part of the programming and production process, to talk about their hopes and dreams, to share information and exchange views with their peers in other parts of the world. The International Children’s Day of Broadcasting Awards are presented annually to television and radio broadcasters who offer the best programming on the year’s ICDB theme; involve young people in the production and presentation of TV programmes and show a commitment to highlighting youth voices year-round. These are the nominees for the 2011 International Children’s Day of Broadcasting Awards. They have each won their regional competition and now compete for the global awards, which will be announced on 5 December 2011.

The 2011 theme was GIRLS ARE…BOYS ARE…

UNICEF asked broadcasters to explore questions like: “What does it mean to be a girl? A boy? Are there innate behaviors, abilities or interests that go along with being a boy or a girl? Are there things boys or girls can’t or aren’t allowed to do because of their gender? Do they both have the same opportunities in life?” As adolescence is a time of change as girls and boys shift into adulthood and are faced with fitting into gender roles, it’s important for young people to see and hear their peers expressing who they are and what being a girl or boy means to them. The ICDB provides a platform to discover youth opinions, see their perspectives and listen to their stories. There is no “one” answer to what it means to be a girl or boy. When youth see others in different roles, with different dreams, it is an inspiration.

And the winners are…

The 2011 ICDB Award for Television goes to Télévision Togolaise (TVT) for its program “A Nous la Planete.” TVT is the national broadcaster of Togo and covers the entire country. It airs regularly the children’s programme “A Nous la Planete,” produced by the youth media organization of the same name. The ICDB edition of the weekly programme involved a panel of youth hosts who debated issues of gender equality and conducted interviews in the field about subjects of discrimination and identity. Read more about TVT and its programming here. TVT won ICDB Regional Awards in 2009 and 2010 and garnered the 2010 ICDB Award for Television.

The 2011 ICDB Award for Radio goes to All India Radio for its program “Joy-Live.” All India Radio covers 99% of the country with 232 broadcasting centres under the India Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Its ICDB programme contained over three hours of programming, all presented by young people, containing news, dramas, interviews and story-telling. The variety infotainment program for kids and youth shared complex problems in the society in a child-friendly language. Read more about All India Radio and its programming here. All India Radio won the ICDB Regional Award in 2010.

ATN Bangla has been presented quality programming by, for and about young people for over a decade. It won the 2004 ICDB Award and ICDB Regional Awards in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010. The station has shown a strong commitment to putting youth up front by training them to be reporters and presenters. It has a regularly scheduled weekly youth show and numerous other special children’s programmes. The station is currently working with UNICEF Bangladesh to develop a group of youth journalists who will produce news on issues affecting children’s lives and will be broadcast by ATN Bangla during their primetime news. UNICEF commends ATN Bangla with a SPECIAL MENTION ICDB Award for their dedication to advancing youth and media. Read more about ATN Bangla and its programming here.

Click here for information on the awards and stories of past winners.

More information:;

H.E.A.P Help eliminate abuse please

January 13, 2012

By: Lexie Selman -
Vincy Teentalk –  

Can you imagine the emotional and psychological distress, along with the physical pain you cause when you abuse someone?

Child abuse is any constant verbal, physical, emotional or sexual contact which results in an individual being hurt.

The rate of child sex abuse has been increasing here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

According to the Criminal Investigation Department in 2008 there were 202 reported sexual involving children related offences and those are only the reported ones.

Child abuse can hurt in a number of ways; however I prefer to point out the most important instances:

Child abuse may result in low self-esteem, emotional distress, and suicidal thoughts and in some cases death at the hands of the abuser.

Child abuse is wrong because it is trampling on the rights of a child who has the right to be happy and protected at all times.

If you are arrested, charged and convicted of child sex abuse you can and should be imprisoned.

Whether you believe it or not, child abuse can be stopped; but you must tell someone you trust and who can help you.

If one person doesn’t listen, continue to tell.

If you as an abuser feel guilty and wish to stop, you should also tell someone trustworthy and give you the help you need.

I suggest to you as an abuser to work along with us to Help Eliminate Abuse Please (H.E.A.P), because by abusing a child you are destroying someone’s future.

Lexie Selman (16)

By: Tishorn Smart

Physical abuse is a term that can be defined as any contact intended to cause feelings of intimidation, injury, or suffering.

Abuse, whether physical, emotional, sexual, or verbal is a problem that is on the increase. The effects of child abuse on children can last a lifetime.

Some of the effects of physical abuse are: minor cuts and bruises, broken bones, swollen limbs, internal bleeding, cancers etc. There are also psychological or emotional effects such as depression and anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders, suicidal attempts, difficulty establishing and maintaining relations and even death.

Child abuse is totally wrong because the rights of the child are being violated.

Children have the right to be protected from all types of abuse, and abusers are breaking the law when they abuse a child.

They can end up going to prison.

Once a child is known to be abused there are certain steps the police or the government should take.

They should remove the abused child from the household and place them into protective custody (in a group, home or foster care, if necessary).

For the abuser, I recommend a long jail sentence.

A victim of child abuse can help stop the abuse by speaking out and get help.

Support groups and centers where abused children can get counseling.

Also, adults should be aware that silence is not consent, and they should be doing what is in the best interest of the child by caring for them instead of abusing them.

The abuse of child has harmful and long lasting effects and negative consequences for all which includes both the abuser and the child and for this reason child abuse should stop.

Visit Vincy Teentalk at:



IIDAC presents recommendations to promote adolescents’ participation at a special session of the OAS Permanent Council

January 6, 2012

 WASHINGTON DC - “The importance of fostering    citizenship and promoting the participation of adolescents cannot be overstated, nor set aside in any democratic movement that discusses plans, policies and actions that directly and indirectly affect this important segment, which today accounts for almost a fifth of the world’s population”, thus began the intervention of the Director of International Programs and Cooperation of IIDAC*, Luqman Patel, at the Special Session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), on November 30, 2011.

Along with the government delegations of the hemisphere, the director of IIDAC focused his recommendations on the creation and promotion of democratic spaces to encourage the participation of adolescents in symposiums, summits, events and other discussion forums. This would be in direct cooperation with member states of the OAS and civil society to contribute to the effective strengthening of a democratic and participatory culture in the Americas, as recommended by the Inter-American Democratic Charter in article 26.

“The IIDAC conveys its unreserved conviction and support for hemispheric integration with the participation of adolescents, with the hope that these adolescent citizens may fully enjoy the values of citizenship and democracy as fundamental human rights, and that they may have the right be a part of the processes that shape their lives for today and tomorrow, the present and the future of the Americas,” concluded the director.

In turn, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, praised the “constant efforts” of civil society in the “strengthening and enriching of democracy in the Americas.” The Secretary General referred to the recommendations made by the Director of IIDAC to ratify the “importance of encouraging the political participation of children from an early age,” as a way to foster democratic involvement and citizenship in the countries of the region.

The Organization of American States has 387 civil society organizations registered, of which only 7 participated in this special gathering. Today’s session was part of a series of meetings being held by the Permanent Council in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its adoption.

The IIDAC, a representative of civil society registered with the OAS since 2010, has developed several initiatives- particularly in Brazil- aimed at effectively promoting the rights of children and adolescents, in close affinity with the main strategic lines of the OAS and related agencies such as the Inter-American Institute of Children and Adolescents (IIN).

Within the framework of these initiatives, an important cooperative initiative with the IIN /OAS was the recent translation and dissemination of the Portuguese version of the Menu of Indicators and Monitoring System of the Right to Participation of Children and Adolescents (released in 2010 by the IIN). The publication suggests a framework for the consolidation of an evaluation process of the right to participation of children and adolescents in the region. The Portuguese version is available for download at the IIDAC website:

Further initiatives will also be planned and developed with the OAS for 2012, following the conclusions of the general terms of cooperation being established between IIDAC and the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States.

*International Institute for the Development of Citizenship (IIDAC)

The International Institute for the Development of Citizenship (IIDAC) is a Brazilian civil society organization with an international scope, primarily focused on promoting human rights, sustainable development and international cooperation in Brazil and around the world.



Photo: OEA


Students produce films on Human Rights: Film Festival and UN honor the winners

December 23, 2011

The winners of the third Students-Film-Competition received their awards at the Vienna International Centre on 6 December 2011. The film Every Human Being has the Right to Food by students of the Clemens-Hochmeister school in Landegg (Tyrol) won the first prize.

The first Austrian film festival for Human Rights This Human World (THW) organized the competition in cooperation with the United Nations Information Service in Vienna (UNIS), the Media Literacy Award of the Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (BMUKK), and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Austria. Under the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Commission in Austria, students 10 to 20 years old were asked to make short films on the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted on 10 December 1948.

“Human rights belong to all of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values,” said Anne Thomas, Information Office at UNIS in Vienna, when she inaugurated the ceremony. Ruth Schoeffl from UNHCR explained that her organization speaks up for those who are being denied their Human Rights, including millions of refugees and stateless people around the globe.

The first prize went to students from the Clemens-Hochmeister school in Landegg (Tyrol), the second prize to the film Human Rights produced by students of the commercial college of Amstetten (Lower Austria) , and the jury awarded the third prize to the film Step by Step, shot by students from the secondary school in Lehen (Salzburg). Asked what Human Rights meant to them personally, the winners responded: “It is important for all people to know that everyone has the same rights, no matter where someone comes from or where someone goes to.”

In association with THW Film Festival, UNIS Vienna additionally announced the competition in Georgia, Armenia and the Ukraine for the first time this year. The two best films from each country were screened at the ceremony as well..

Another film Strudel, was also shown at the event which was particularly popular with the young audience. It shows how children of different mother tongues work together to cook an intercultural dish. One student remarked “Watching the movie I understood everything that was said in German and Turkish, because my parents are originally from Turkey while I was born in Austria. And my friend understood what was said in Serbian as well, because her parents are originally from Serbia.”

How to Find a Great Story

December 14, 2011

Elements of a Great Story

Journalists are often accused of looking for drama or sensational stories. But audiences are more interested in some topics than the mundane and ordinary. Here are some topics that appeal to news audiences: The unexpected (earthquakes, car accidents, tornadoes, even just a celebrity visiting a local mall); Compassion (generosity of a community member, charity work); Legacy (something that leaves an impact).

Characteristics of a Good Story

  • S.I.N.: Significant, Interesting, and New
  • Compelling – people are drawn in by it

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • What makes it different than anything you have heard before?
  •  Why would someone want to know about it?
  • How does it affect people?
  • What consequences will it have?
  • Why does it matter?

Find a Focus Statement

  • A focus statement is a single sentence that summarizes the story. It tells you who is doing what.
  • Sample focus statements:

President Paul Kagame is inaugurating a new building at the National University of Rwanda in Butare today because he is investing $2M into the education system.

Formulate It So People Care

Once you have collected all the elements that will make your story great, think about how to structure it so that people will be drawn in. If you have a key character, a person with a compelling story, it often works well to begin with their personal story and lead into the story that is affecting more people.

For radio, you can set the scene with descriptive words and sound, to show the consequences or realities of the situation.


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