UNICEF launches Northeast Chapter of Radio4Child
UNICEF India launched the Northeast Chapter of the Radio4Child platform today, to encourage radio professionals in the region to create innovative messaging on children and women’s issues. Shri Maninder Singh (IAS), Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Assam, who was the Chief Guest at the event, launched the chapter.
“I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge UNICEF for launching this unique platform for radio professionals from the Northeast of India – that will help build their knowledge and capacities on various women and children’s issues in this region,” Singh said while launching the platform.
“Over the years, there has been a steady rise in the immunization coverage in the Northeastern
states of India. However, due to the pandemic, we have seen surfacing of zero-dose children and also challenges in nutrition. Radio has the power of reach – it reaches the remotest of regions of Northeast. If key messages are integrated in the popular shows that people tune into, then the information will stay with them,” Singh said.
Singh also felicitated 10 All India Radio (AIR) Part-Time Correspondents (PTC) from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Odisha for their creative work on COVID-19 Vaccination, the free precautionary dose as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Intensified Mission Indradhanush 4.0 and POSHAN Maah, besides covering other children and women related health issues.
Acknowledging the role of radio, especially in the North-eastern region of India, Dr Madhulika Jonathan, Chief of UNICEF Assam and other NE states said, “This is a much-needed chapter in the journey of the Radio4Child platform. It will provide all stakeholders working on children’s rights in the Northeast, especially the State Governments, with a very useful platform to spread mass awareness and address social behavioural challenges.” She hopes that through the platform, the radio professionals would work together with UNICEF on issues like ending violence against children, education, sanitation, climate change beyond Routine Immunization and nutrition.
Highlighting the need to reduce the gap between immunization goals and coverage in the NE, Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, Advocacy & Partnerships, UNICEF India, said, “Over the years, there has been a steady rise in Immunization Coverage in the North-eastern states of India. However, the pandemic has caused an increase in the number of zero-dose children (those who have not received even a single dose of any vaccine). Radio can play a great role in giving communities a wake-up call that we cannot allow the legacy of COVID-19 to be the resurgence of measles, polio and other childhood killers.” She also encouraged radio professionals to highlight the challenges of malnutrition (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity), breastfeeding and complementary feeding.
The Radio4Child NE Chapter was launched at the culmination of a two-day capacity building workshop on nutrition and Routine Immunization for over 70 radio professionals from Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and other north Indian states.
UNICEF India, as a part of its partnership with SSDS, leveraged the network of over 50 district radio from remote parts of the country and encouraged them to go beyond news reporting to bring voices of frontline workers, celebrities, local influencers, and youth on these issues. They were also encouraged to leverage the convergent online media and capture these issues on video and share these across social media.
The Awards were given across five categories – Maximum Number of Frontline Workers Covered, Maximum Number of Influencers Covered, Maximum Number of Covid vaccine news, Maximum Number of Influencers covered, and Maximum Number of Voices of Youth covered. The Overall Best Performer was also given to Satish Mishra from Uttar Pradesh.
Radio4Child is a unique public-private partnership platform that brings together Radio Announcers, RJs, Producers and Programming Officers from All India Radio, Private FM and Community Radio across India. Through workshops, online engagements and one-on-one sessions, it helps build capacities of radio professionals on critical child rights issues that are in support of government campaigns/programmes like Routine Immunization, POSHAN Maah among others.
During the pandemic, Radio4Child sensitized over 2,000 radio professionals from all over India and encouraged them to come up with creative programmes around COVID-19 and vaccination and related issue.
Health officials from UNICEF Assam and other NE states and its partners, such as Dr. Ashoke Kr. Roy, Director, Regional Resource Centre for North East, helped in setting the context on children’s issues, especially health challenges that were unique to Northeast India.
Radio professionals also interacted with frontline workers – ASHA, ANM, AWW, and other Medical Officers and Programme Managers – during the workshop and learnt about the challenges they face covering the vast difficult terrains and inclement weather conditions unique to the region.