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It Takes A Village Africa, Inc. (ITAVA), is seeking funding to deliver its signature project Youth Making Media (YMM) starting June 2017. The project will begin with a one year (1) pilot with funding from donors and international organizations and managed by ITAVA Liberia implemented in six (6) of Liberia’s fifteen (15) counties across: Montserrado, Margibi, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa and Bong respectively. It aims to contribute to gender equality, justice and economic empowerment, primarily through engaging young girls and boys It will cost an estimated total budget of Forty Eight Thousand Five Hundred and Ten ($48,510.00) United States Dollars. Background Today, more than 1.1 Million children are out of school in Liberia that’s according to UNICEF 2015 Education Report. 64 percent of young women and men living in Liberia face challenges brought about by limited access to resources, disasters, healthcare, education, training, employment and economic opportunities. They often have little or no opportunity for education, few possibilities to improve their living conditions, face poverty or multiple forms of discrimination. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were signed September 2015 at the historic 70th United Nations General Assembly. The 17 goals also seek to empower young people with skills and technical expertise thereby involving their full participation in the implementation. As we consider innovations and global historic events inspired by youth, we recognize the energy, vision and potential for transformative change that youth bring to the table. According to the United Nations, young people account for about 65 percent of Liberia's population of 4.1 million, and youth unemployment is estimated as high as 85 percent. It Takes A Village Africa (ITAVA), Liberia chapter since 2014 has been working for and with more than 50,000 children and young people in 36 communities in three (3) of Liberia’s 15 counties: Montserrado, Bomi and Grand Bassa. Our focus as ITAVA has been on delivering campaigns, speeches, collecting signatures, youth, community and media engagements all gear towards creating awareness on access to quality education, better healthcare and access to market for all Liberian children, working in partnership with communities, local and national government and civil society organizations and media. ITAVA is launching the Youth Making Media (YMM) project beginning June 2016. The project will begin with a one year (1) pilot funded by the European Union and managed by ITAVA Liberia implemented in six (6) of Liberia’s fifteen (15) counties across: Montserrado, Margibi, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa and Bong respectively. The YMM project will be implemented at local and national levels through ITAVA’s networks and partnerships with local media and youth groups. It aims to contribute to gender equality, justice and economic empowerment, primarily through engaging young girls and boys in raising greater public awareness with two main objectives: 1. Diversifying the media to include the voices and issues of young girls and boys: this is a long-term approach to change the media environment to include more equality, ethical reporting of issues relating to girls and gender equality, and in the short-term involves the production and broadcasting of programs by youth groups that impact lives. 2. Promoting gender equality: this involves the participation of young girls and boys in creating public awareness of girls’ rights, policies and gender issues, including
 practices, through media and local forum and radio programs. Introduction Media and Communications is very essential to every institution because it is the lifeline that drives the policies and plans as well as the impacts produced as the result of monitoring, evaluation and reporting. There can be no promotion of good governance, economic empowerment and rule of law, the coordination and the fight against poverty, inequality and discrimination will yield absolutely no results if the young people are not adequately informed and prepared to take up the challenges to develop Liberia. It Takes A Village Africa Inc., intention is to work and partner with young people in the community through its existing local institutions with multi-dimensional approaches. Giving our current efforts with the Ebola Recovery Response and the many impact ITAVA is making on the lives of Liberians particularly; children this is a proposal to launch a full-scale Youth Making Media project intended to train young people into news gathering, broadcasting, interviewing techniques, reporting and producing interactive radio programs that encourage development across the country. It is no doubt that the media is a fundamental tool to the advancement of human right essential for the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits through interactions and discourses. The media has the potential to bridge the gap between the rich and poor by increasing the chances of youth and children from under served and under privileged families to attain better skills and speak out on issues that concern them. The media equips young people with the knowledge and skills that enable them to make informed choices. In June 2015, ITAVA undertook an assessment of young people involved with media activities across her counties of interventions. Overall, young people interviewed had a moderate level of existing radio production and broadcasting experience as well as content gathering and community engagement. On average, the young girls and boys had 3.5 years of experience working in the radio sector and communities. Most knew the fundamentals of reporting as well as editing. However, only a small portion of youth including the young journalists had any technical knowledge on youth engagement, gender equality, gathering and producing interactive and thought-provoking radio talk-shows and discussions, or having the knowledge and experience required to put together a unique radio program that demands or pushes duty-bearers and decision-makers to actions. And, while many claimed to possess experience related to production and editing, equipment and other resource constraints at the radio stations prevented them from using their skills. In addition, it appears that while the young people and the journalists have acquired knowledge on individual aspects of the production process, actually creating final products such as “radio clips”, “jingles”, dramas, talk-shows, or Public Service Announcements (PSAs) was limited; only 40% of participants reported that they could start with a concept and implement the steps necessary to generate final products. Currently, the most popular shows on community radios across counties are the morning talk shows. The names of these shows include “Breakfast”, “Morning Talk, “Your Morning”, “Talk to the President”, “Rise and Shine”, “Wake up Somebody”, and “Early Morning Call”. These shows are all live, and some feature a call-in portion. Formats vary. One specific format such as that featured on “The Papers” in Bomi County where the day’s newspapers are read and discussed on the air, is reportedly quite popular. Three of the journalists across counties mentioned that youth radio programming aired on their station; all were considered moderately popular. Stations reported broadcasting or as few as 10 hours per day and as many as 24 hours per day. Stations that had 24 hour broadcasting were either in Montserrado, or enjoyed free electricity from a telecom provider. Some stations reported broadcasting fewer hours during the week and longer hours on the weekends. In Bong for example, the station limited its weekly broadcasting hours to 10 in order to provide 24-hour broadcasts on the weekends. Most cited monetary constraints to longer broadcast times, while a secondary reason was limited production capacity for new shows and pre-recorded program. All the youth journalists reported that they believed radio listeners were interested in youth-led radio programs, and that a significant number of young people listened to their radio. When developing youth-radio programming at specific stations, a more formal review of youth demand should be done locally. However, from the assessment, it does appear that there is sufficient interest/demand on the part of the young people to warrant expanded and targeted youth-related programming. The youth and journalists identified the following topical areas they believed would be valuable/interesting for listeners in their counties: gender based violence, child abused, education, health and teenage pregnancy, including specific mention of the following topics: • Human rights reporting • Youth participation in decision making • Liberia post Ebola issues • Child related radio programming techniques • Human rights conventions • Child rights & responsibility • Sexual Gender based violence & abuse • Teenage pregnancy • Violence against children • Violence against women • Advocacy • Youth empowerment and engagement • Disability • Hygiene promotion • Disaster and emergency reporting



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