Contrary to an adage “children are to be seen and not heard,” UNICEF in collaboration with the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone on Friday June 27th 2008 handed over assorted Radio Studio Equipments for Voice of the Children programme, to Radio Mount Aureol at Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Leone to promulgate the UN convention on Child rights.
Before he officially handed over the equipment to the College, the UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone, Geert Cappelaere noted that, the occasion was symbolic giving the fact that someone like the Ag. Special Representative of the Secretary General Mr. Gabriel Hargus who may have been involved in the whole process of actualizing the ‘Voice of Children’ Radio project happened to have stayed around for long to witness the day.
He is on record to have said that the ‘Voice of Children’ project was an actualization of the rights awarded to children in the convention on the rights of the child, adding that the ‘Voice of Children’ project was the first post-conflict child-run radio programme of its kind that was launched in Sierra Leone in 2003.
He said the incorporation of the radio would help build up the capacity of journalists to effectively and efficiently handle children’s programmes.
He praised the strategic location of the radio on University campus from that of UNIOSIL office at Aberdeen where it would be well taken care of.
The Voice of children he said would provide a platform for children, to share their thoughts and feelings, express themselves, play and inform each other on important issues and connect each other through music, play and laughter.
The acting Special Representative of the Secretary General Gabriel Hargus said the project was a worthy one as it would ensure the transfer of all the intellectual assets developed over the years to the University which has the capacity to handle them better.
Voice of Children which he said was an indication of their commitment to child rights as stipulated by the UN convention came into being as a result of the transitional plan with support from UNICEF.
The director of INSLICS and Mass Communication Mrs Bernadette Cole stated that the UN convention on human rights clearly stipulated the rights of a child noting that the media is the appropriate channel of projecting those rights to improve on their lives and to influence policy makers to ratify such rights. She promised that the Voice of Children Radio would be used for its intended purpose. She pleaded with the benefactors to assist them with transportation and structure to accommodate the equipments.
Prof. Aiah Kpakima the Vice Chancellor of University of Sierra Leone expressing gratitude over the gesture noted that the world was now watching them to see how best they can utilize the opportunity provided for them. He said the ‘Voice of Children’ Radio would provide an opportunity for the children to express their dismay, feelings and aspirations. “The Radio is an innovation to let the voice of the children be heard on issues relating to their country, parents welfare” he said.