Child to Child (CtC) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to children’s rights based at the Institute of Education.In 2011, CtC began working in partnership with the Sierra Leonean non-governmental organization (NGO) The Pikin-To-Pikin Movement (PtP) to conduct out a five-year community-based early childhood development project in Sierra Leone’s rural Eastern area. The project ran successfully until the Ebola outbreak halted all activities in March 2014.Nationally all schools closed and public congregations were banned, except for church and mosque meetings. In August 2014, The Pikin-Pikin Movement reported that numerous people involved in the project had died of Ebola, including pre-school children, primary school children,
parents, adult community volunteers, teachers, and one head teacher.
To respond to the Ebola crisis, CtC and PtP developed a new
a project called “Pikin to Pikin Tok” aimed at supporting children to continue learning by delivering early years, hygiene, and life skills educational content through child-friendly radio broadcasts. The project also seeks
to equip children to transmit education, health awareness,and life skills messages to their peers, families, and communities. The fundamental principle underpinning the redesigned project was that marginalised children and young people in Kailahun District should be given a voice through the powerful and relatively low-cost medium of radio, which allows larger numbers of beneficiaries to be reached.
While the educational radio programme Pikin to Pikin Tok is not directly targeted to girls or aimed directly at promoting gender equality in education, it is gender-responsive as it draws on contextual evidence of girls’ increased vulnerabilities. It also includes teaching material to educate girls, their families, and the community about the threats they face, and also how to safeguard themselves ,overcome them, and the importance of ensuring girls continue in school. This was achieved in part by the radio producers working closely with PtP and CtC to define messages and the best way to communicate them in order to educate and change perceptions about the role of girls in the family and the community, as well as how to mitigate the risks of early pregnancy and violence. The project tries to promote positive gender ideas and help community members increase their knowledge of and the value they place on girl’s safety.
Pikin to Pikin Tok broadcasts and repeats two new child-centred radio programmes each week: Story Time aimed at younger listeners and aired for the first time on Monday and repeated twice during the week and Under The Mango Tree for older listeners, which is aired for the first time on Wednesday and repeated twice per week. Since the project advocates for school retention, it was decided in consultation with community members to schedule the broadcasts after school hours.Themes presented and discussed during the programmes included the importance of hand washing and basic hygiene practices, letters of the alphabet to promote literacy,
numbers to support basic numeracy, and safety in the community. The radio programmes respond to the multilingual context and enhance listeners’ learning through narration in both English and Krio.
One of the critical success factors in terms of process is the excitement generated during the second-half of radio broadcasts, when children participate in “grounding” the stories to their own lives. The ability to participate and amplify their voices over the radio is recognised as a major
draw across age cohorts, including amongst parents.