Promoting Children's Rights on the Internet in DRC
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My name is Glodi, I am 17 years old and I am a Young Reporter since 2014. I live in Kinshasa, towards N'djili where the majority of the population does not go to school. I am lucky enough to go to the best school in my community.
I became a Young Reporter at the age of 14 when members of the Reseau des Journalistes Amis de l'Enfant (RJAE), supported by UNICEF, came to my school to give a presentation on children's rights. It was new to me, I had never heard of the right to participation, for example. When they spoke about the Young Reporters, I immediately wanted to join!
During 7 days, and along with other children from the city, I was trained in children's rights, in advocacy techniques, and writing, but also in different press techniques. After this training, I applied the theory to write articles related to protection, non-discrimination, and development.
In my neighborhood, many people do not have access to water, hygiene, and sanitation: so it was logical for me to write about this subject. For two years, and with Young Reporters from Kinshasa, we have advocated putting an end to the discrimination. In DRC only children who live in rural areas and those who study in primary schools benefit from the Healthy Villages and Schools program. Our advocacy has succeeded since we are now talking about “Healthy Villages and Neighborhoods”.
When I write an article, I do it according to what I see in my neighborhood or even on television. For example, I once heard the story of a mother abandoned by her husband and raising her two children alone. In exchange for a plot, the mother agreed to make her daughter date an older man. Outraged, I sent out a distress call on Ponabana, asking parents not to give up their children to such practices!
Writing for Ponabana allows me to reach a wide audience. We are the most computerized generation, so we have to talk to people where they are: on the Internet. We can also hope to reach the decision makers this way, because everything circulates quickly on the Internet. Some of my friends around me tell me that they have read my articles and became aware of their rights. It is a success for me.
A little anecdote: Young Reporters do not always have access to a computer to write their articles. That's no problem, we can always find a way to send our messages: nothing will prevent us from defending our rights and those of all children. I sent my first Ponabana article by SMS! I, therefore, call on all Young Reporters of the DRC not to be discouraged; to relaunch and continue to follow-up with the various advocacy efforts they have had in support of the prevailing of the rights of all children.