The Ebola Epidemic
In 2011, Child to Child and their Sierra Leone-based partner Pikin to Pikin started a programme preparing pre-school children to enter primary school. Older children led learning activities to make sure that younger pupils started school “with basic foundations in literacy, numeracy, and the socio-emotional skills required for learning.”
When the Ebola epidemic hit in 2014, the project was brought to a halt. Since then, thousands of children have been orphaned. During the crisis, many older girls had to leave school to take care of their siblings and have been unable to resume their education, and teenage pregnancy increased by 65%.
During the epidemic, all schools were closed and most public congregations were banned. The project could not continue as it was originally designed, as it required children to come together in groups. This is why Child to Child turned to radio.
The Circle is supporting Child to Child and funding Under The Mango Tree, a new series of radio programmes created by girls, for girls.
Pikin to Pikin Tok Radio Programmes
In December 2014, the project was resumed under a new format – the Pikin to Pikin Tok radio programme, which means “Child to Child Talk” in Krio, the local language. 36 children have now been trained as journalists for the programme, creating content for children of different age groups.
Programmes for younger children include songs and traditional stories, which have been redesigned to address the issues that they are facing, improve their numeracy and literacy skills, and promote the importance of hand washing. Programmes for older children discuss topics such as teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse and other children’s rights violations that have become more frequent due to Ebola.
Hundreds of solar-powered radios have been distributed and listener groups have been set up to guide children’s debate about the topics that are discussed in the programmes.
Radio programmes addressed to adults are also being made with the intention of challenging prevailing prejudices towards girls.
Penny Boreham and Usifu Jalloh have travelled to Sierra Leone to meet the children of the Pikin to Pikin Tok project. Click here to listen to their full documentary.
To find out more about the project click here to read an article from the World Health Organisation for further details.