The young generation is rocking powerup_radio

30.09.2020 - 16:15 | Christian Possa

Our mobile reporters: they are young and they love radio so much that they are willing to give up their free time for it. Project Officers – Radio Projects Mariel Diez and Samantha Kuster talk about a new project that largely relies on the enthusiasm of the participants.

mariel-und-samantha_-_mobile_reporter_-_stiftung_kinderdorf_pestalozzi
An experienced team: Project Officers – Radio Projects and Mobile Reporter project managers Samantha Kuster and Mariel Diez.

What is behind the Mobile Reporters project?

Mariel Diez: The idea has been floating around in our heads for quite a while. We kept finding that the children and youths were hooked on making radio programmes at the end of a project and wanted to carry on doing it. Until now, we have not had the resources to follow up on our idea. That changed when Samantha started at powerup_ radio. We said to ourselves: now’s the time to do it.

How did the project get started?

Samantha Kuster: We started last November with six children. Since then, four more participants have joined the project who saw our radio bus during the Children’s Rights Day event on the Bundesplatz. To begin with, this is a good number of participants. We underestimated how much support they would need from us.

Mariel Diez: It is also important to emphasise that they are doing this in their free time. Initially we thought that the enthusiasm would subside over time and that things would change, but the children are still just as motivated. Only one pupil, who was still very young and unsure at the start of the project, has dropped out.

What sets the Mobile Reporters project apart?

Mariel Diez: In traditional projects, it can sometimes be difficult to build a proper relationship with the children. The teacher might have to look after a whole class and has very little time. Just as you begin to really get to know them and recognise their potential, the project is already over. With the Mobile Reporters project, we can build a relationship over a longer period of time. We get to see the end product and share their motivation. The fact that the feedback in this relationship goes in both directions makes the whole thing much more appealing.

Do you agree, Samantha?

Absolutely. You can see how children develop and flourish just in the space of a project week. However, it is only a brief glimpse that you can marvel at, and then it’s already a thing of the past. In this project we can give the participants much more specific support.

How do you go about doing that?

Mariel Diez: We meet every two or three months and discuss the main topics for the next programmes with the participants. At each of these workshops we also talk about past programmes and try to provide new input. Just recently, we discussed various interview techniques, for example.

Samantha Kuster: For kids of this age – ranging from 5th to 8th grade – it is a fantastic practice environment. Asking a stranger for an interview is not easy. I’m still absolutely delighted that one of the children independently managed to set up an interview on children’s rights with someone from the Child and Adult Protective Services. These are excellent skills for everyday life and I think it’s important that the children learn about them here.

What developments have you noticed in the mobile reporters?

Samantha Kuster: That they’re very proud of what they achieve. And rightly so. Absolutely. During lockdown I arranged a virtual meeting over Zoom. One mother later told me that her son had run round the whole house proudly announcing that he was about to go to a meeting. I think the children feel valued by us and that they like taking the lead, which makes them feel important

Mariel Diez: It is nice to watch them have the courage to try out new things. The coronavirus programme #powerupconnects was broadcast in English every Thursday in order to involve all the listeners from our exchange programmes. Tobias got involved and did interviews with little preparation time with youngsters from Serbia and North Macedonia. The moments when we give them a new challenge and they say «Alright, I’ll give it a try» rather than «No, I’d rather not» are very powerful.

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