John Kizza is a local trainer based in Kampala, Uganda. He joined DW Akademie’s training team last year and mainly trains young journalists on Participatory Youth Radio.
The trainings of Participatory Youth Radio are meant to give journalism students hands on skills on radio productions while using interactive youth formats.
Why is Participatory Youth Radio important for you and your trainees?
For over 15 years I have been working at radio stations that target mainly youth, who are the majority radio consumers in Uganda. Through all these years I felt radio content in Uganda was really shallow, despite the growing quantity of radio stations countrywide. A missed opportunity! The majority of radio presenters are young adults talking to young people and not with them. Many young people tune in for music and entertainment but not for answers or information that can help them to get out of the ever growing youth unemployment and youth disempowerment in Uganda. Despite this huge access to information channels, the desperation among youth is growing.
A ticking time bomb! The growth of Youth Participatory Radio in a country with the second highest youth population in the world presents an opportunity in influencing transformation of media landscape in Uganda. By using youth interactive formarts media houses can turn young radio content consumers into collaborators that can voice their issues, interface with their leaders and have access to life changing information.
The trainees represent the present and future of radio in Uganda. Participatory Youth Radio empowers them to use the radio platform to fight for their rights and contribute to improvement of young people’s lives. It also makes them be effective radio presenters and producers because Participatory Youth Radio seminars equip them with technical and production hands on skills that the rest of journalism students never had the opportunity to have. It also boosts their self-confidence in communication, writing, research skills and enables them to use social media in a meaningful way.
How is this going to benefit media houses in Uganda?
With 78% of the population below the age of 30, this is an opportunity for media houses to influence young people who are the country’s most important resource for positive social change. If the trainees are well used by radio stations and media houses are able to professionally tap into the participatory potential of the web/social media, they will increase their youth audience. This will translate into increased advertising revenue which is important as many radio stations in Uganda are struggling financially.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
The most rewarding aspect is seeing young people putting everything they have learned in just five days together into a powerful one hour radio show, packed with interviews, features, researched information, youth voices and all this mixed with great entertaining music.