World Radio Day

Broadcasters give youth a boost

As we mark the fourth annual World Radio Day, an ILO-supported program for young Kenyan musicians gets radio play.

Audio | 12 February 2015

NARRATION: That’s a song from Kenya-based musician Jah Fire, getting its first air play on Ghetto radio in Nairobi.

Although we live in the Internet age, when cell phones outnumber the people on the planet, radio is still a powerful tool for communicating.

Even in developing countries, at least 75 per cent of households have access to radio. Throughout the world, there are over 2.4 billion radio receivers and over 51,000 radio stations.

Every February 13, World Radio Day celebrates radio’s reach. Created four years ago by the Spanish Radio Academy and organised by UNESCO, it is composed of 15 major regional and national broadcasting organizations.

Nairobi’s Ghetto radio is one example of a communications bridge for remote communities and vulnerable populations, which sometimes have no other connection to the outside world.

The radio tells them about programmes like the one Jah Fire joined called Uwezo. It’s part of Kenya’s Youth to Youth fund, which the International Labour Organization helped put in place.

Robert “Wawesh” Kiboi, CEO of UWEZO Awareness, explains how the programme helps musicians: “It’s a facility to produce their ideas and a platform for training in the areas of IT, music and e-learning -- so I’ve created my model around a resource centre where youth can come and they get training. They get access to whatever they need in terms of building capacity for them to realize their dreams.”

NARRATION: As a Youth to Youth Fund grantee, UWEZO works with 30 talented youth as beneficiaries. As a unique grant model -- the Youth to Youth Fund gives young people a voice – allowing them to design and implement innovative solutions to employment challenges in their communities.

Recording artist Zimbo talks about the program: “UWEZO has come to help young people discover themselves so that they can recognize their talents and nurture them and to present them in the best way possible for them to progress. You may be a talented artist, but you may not have access to good facilities, or have good business skills. Isn’t music a business?”

Narration: Music is a business, and UWEZO’s work with talented youth enables them to become successful entrepreneurs and to create jobs for others. UWEZO has already allowed the creation of two albums -- with songs released on national radio stations in Kenya.

Reporting for the ILO, this is Carla Drysdale.