Photo: Nation Media group Building in Nairobi
The Nation Media Group and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (NICEF) Kenya on Monday signed a partnership agreement to promote children’s rights in the media.
The agreement will see Nation Media Group use its digital, TV, radio and print platforms to raise awareness of critical children’s issues, beginning with COVID-19 and children, adolescent and mental health, and youth skills, employment and voice.
UNICEF representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman highlighted the important role that media can play in advancing the rights of children given that children constitute up to 50 percent of the Kenyan population.
“Children constitute 50 percent of the Kenyan population. 1 in every 2 people are under 18. Kenya’s development is anchored on the development of the rights of children. 50 percent of those children live in poverty which is a big statistic” Said Maniza Zaman.
The two partners will also look at important issues for children and young people.
In 2020, school closures interrupted learning for over 17 million children, who missed six to nine months of formal education, with resulting learning loss especially among younger and rural children. During COVID-19, children and adolescents have also faced increased stress and mental health issues, with a need for greater support in this often-neglected area. And the economic impact of the pandemic has reduced job opportunities for young people, highlighting the need for modern vocation skills, as well as the opportunity for youth to speak out about their issues and concerns. Speaking at the Partnership Nation Media Group CEO Stephen Gitagama emphasised the importance of the Kenyan media reporting on child rights.
“As Nation Media Group, we are committed to empowering people. This partnership with UNICEF will bolster our efforts in providing constant transformative content that is safe for children, promotes their welfare and is available in formats that are accessible, convenient and useful to all our audiences. Children are by far the majority in our population and we have a duty to ensure that they grow into responsible adults,”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is more important than ever for children’s rights to be upheld and for their voices to be heard. Children and young people have seen their rights to an education and to be healthy, as well as their desire to become productive members of society, under threat as never before.
The media is a vital ally for children, with the reach, influence and responsibility to highlight these threats, provide balanced reporting, and amplify both the needs and potential solutions to children’s issues.