Training the next generation of communicators and agents for social change in Cabo Delgado
Despite the twin challenges of a virulent pandemic and a violent insurgency, h2n’s Youth Hub program continues to expand into new districts in Cabo Delgado. The program, which provides coaching and mentorship in communication, radio journalism, television production, life skills and civic participation for young people, is based on close collaboration with local community radio stations in the province. The project is funded by OSISA as part of a broader program that also includes gender equality and journalism components. “Our goal is to train the next generation of communicators and agents for social change,” says Mana Clara Sadia, h2n project manager. Last week, the program started up in Nangade, a district in the northern part of the province. A launch was also planned in Mocimboa da Praia, the neighboring district, at the same time, but had to be abandoned when the community radio station there was vandalized over the preceding weekend and its equipment looted by people assumed to be insurgents. “Only the transmitter was left, and people are also leaving, no one is staying,” one of h2n’s collaborators explained about the incident. “There is no doubt that the situation [in the province] makes the work difficult, but it gives us an opportunity to innovate and use creative methods, such as educational videos that we produce,” explains Mana Clara, who says the program would have been impossible to implement without h2n’s long-standing partnerships with the radios in the province. “We have defined community radio not only as a communication channel, but also as a key part of the social infrastructure, and the Youth Hub program leverages both,” says Mana Clara. While the roots of the insurgency are disputed, there is a wide consensus that providing youth with employment and education opportunities is essential to long-term stability and progress. h2n, which is primarily supported by Norway, works extensively with community radios, produces community videos, broadcasts the “Saude e Vida” television program on health and wellness, facilitates youth engagement hubs and pursues a rapidly expanding gender equality agenda.