KINGSTON — The old adage, ‘Children should be seen and not heard’ will not reverberate with today’s youth. Those days are over and their voices now echo on a radio discussion programme dubbed, ‘Dosupmn’, heard fortnightly on Roots FM.
Launched by the National Transformation Programme (NTP), it is aimed at moulding the minds of young people to become first class citizens.
Spearheaded by the Students for Transformation (SFT), the youth arm of the NTP, the programme is not only encouraging young persons to express their views, but also to find solutions to problems and to act on them. It is aired from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Since it was launched in April, there have been outside and studio broadcasts, which focus on issues that impact the youth. One programme dealt with the recent ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletic Championship-led initiative, focusing on encouraging Jamaicans to maintain the peace, while another looked at the root causes of missing children and how they can be found.
“It is a programme for the youth, by the youth, giving the youth a voice,” talk show host and SFT member, Chantal Cogle, explains in an interview with JIS News. She says it is solutions oriented and will encourage young people to express their views and find solutions.
“We are tired of having programmes where people just call in and talk about the issues. We want to effect a change where young people will not just talk about the issues, but actually give solutions to these issues. I believe that we do have the solutions, but we spend more time talking about the issues and blaming other persons,” Miss Cogle says.
She suggests that more radio programmes should be geared toward young people.
“I’ve heard young people say they are bored, especially on Sundays, and when they turn on the radio there is nothing there. To be honest, it is the truth, there is nothing there for young people so that is why they stick to the Internet, because there is no other way,” she commented.
The 19-year-old past student of Ocho Rios High School and member of the SFT’s Public Relations Committee for some two years, said there are plans by the SFT to transform the nation, by encouraging young citizens to adopt and express the 12 core values: work, honesty, justice, love, peace, personal development, respect and reverence for life, responsibility, savings and investments, trust, truth and unity.
“We want to transform the nation, because our SFT motto states that true transformation begins with you and me, so we want our nation to know that persons must take responsibility for their own actions,” she said.
Giving an example of what she meant by taking responsibility, Cogle said that, as host of the programme, she will have to take responsibility for the delivery and content of her messages.
The young broadcaster, who did an eight-week community broadcaster’s training with Roots FM to prepare her for the position, says one has to be mindful of what they say on radio.
“We tend to say that we have a target audience, but that target audience might not necessarily listen. We have other persons that listen, you have babies growing up, they listen to everything and they understand what you are saying, Cogle emphasised.
Since becoming host of the show, Cogle said she has learnt a lot and might consider pursuing a career in Broadcast Journalism.
“I believe that I have that talent, and once you have the talent you should always use the talent,” she said with an air of confidence. In September, she will begin studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Language, Communications and Society.
Apart from being talented, Cogle is knowledgeable on various issues affecting young people. She has served as both treasurer and president of the National Secondary Students’ Council. In 2009, she was selected by the National Centre for Youth Development to represent Jamaica at a UNESCO youth forum in Paris, France. She has also been a member of the Youth Parliament for about four years.
NTP Director of Development, Monitoring and Planning, Fabian Brown, says the discussion programme was an opportunity, through the broadcast media, to carry messages of values and attitudes to support the transformation of youths.
“It is also a training ground in the area of public relations, media and broadcasting for young persons like the Students for Transformation, who are now producing and doing the research and documentation in preparation for the shows,” she says.
Mr. Brown said the NTP will be seeking financial support for the continuation of the programme. He informed that the organisation was currently looking at the Inter-American Children’s Institute and other private sector groups for support.
“We have done one outside broadcast, showcasing young people who have decided to transform their lives from one of crime and violence to being spiritually uplifting,” he disclosed, noting that similar programmes will be done to encourage and engage young people.
The NTP Director is also hoping that these programmes could be aired on other radio stations, to reach a wider audience.
“We want to tap into the widest possible radio audience,” he added.
Another component is the television programme to be aired on two local television stations.
“We have already filmed four episodes along those lines and, concurrently, we have been doing a similar thrust with the National Transformation Programme’s “Transform”, which is also a television programme,” he informed.
Mr. Brown said the main focus of the television programme is to promote transformational values, as required by the Vision 2030 Jamaica Plan, “by engaging Jamaicans with positive messages to facilitate a more civil society.”
“We are hoping that the television programmes will get off the ground, during the last Monday in June,” he said, stating that the NTP will be entering into partnerships with the television stations through which the programmes will be aired.
Mr. Brown says the transformation process should not be regarded as a project, but its principles should be included in operational plans, sporting and educational programmes.
He argued that unless the programmes, like what we stand for, are taken on and enthused by all Jamaicans in our daily lives and activities, then we may not be achieving our ultimate goal.
By Elaine Hartman Reckord, JIS Information Officer