Established in 2005, this children's participation project is now run independently by the Zisize Educational Trust. It enables children in rural northern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to use the power of radio and storytelling to describe and explore their lives and circumstances for a South African and – via the Worldwide Web – global audience.

The child-directed storytelling, public broadcasts and analysis of the children’s narratives over time aim to improve understandings of children’s experiences growing up in a context of poverty and AIDS; and encourage adults to consider and appropriately address children’s needs and experiences.

Participant children are trained to produce broadcast-quality radio programmes in a variety of formats. In addition to distributing their programmes via the Web, they host a regular show on a local community radio station where they air their pre-recorded and edited programmes, facilitate live discussions in studio and with listeners, and report on news collected from schools in the area. Selected programmes are also used to facilitate discussion in meetings and workshops locally and further afield.

In November 2011, the broadcast by the Abaqophi bakwaZisize Abakhanyayo on Maputaland Community Radio won the prize for Eastern and Southern Africa in UNICEF’s International Children's Day of Broadcasting Award. In 2012, one of the children who participated in the project since he was 11 years old joined the team as an intern after he completed his schooling.

The project was a collaboration between Zisize Educational Trust, a non-governmental organisation based in Ingwavuma. In 2012, it received funding from the Media Development and Diversity Agency, and the DG Murray Trust.


Further reading

Children's Radio Project website - listen to the children's radio programmes

Unsettling the status quo: Children's challenges to adult perceptions and practices
Meintjes H 2011
In: Jamieson L, Bray R, Viviers A, Lake L, Pendlebury S & Smith C (eds) South African Child Gauge 2010/2011.