MONROVIA, Liberia – “The last time I got malaria, I had to leave school because I couldn’t walk properly. I couldn’t eat,” says Veldis Malkor, age 13. “I missed school for about a week.”
Yet Veldis says that he doesn’t like to sleep under a mosquito net.
“It’s too hot,” he admits.
However, after several days of interviewing some of Liberia’s experts on malaria for a UNICEF-sponsored week-long radio production workshop, Veldis will think twice about using one.
At the workshop, three boys and four girls from around Liberia learned how to record, edit, write and produce a radio story of their own.
Veldis also learned how to stay healthy.
Monrovia radio workshop
The workshop was conducted by UNICEF Radio in partnership with UNICEF’s ‘Back on Track’ programme on Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition, UNICEF Liberia and Talking Drum Studios.
Veldis’ story explored the high cost of malaria on Liberia’s schools. He visited the John F. Kennedy Medical Centre’s malaria ward, and spent time with the public health officials at Liberia’s Malaria Control Unit.
The head of the unit told Veldis that malaria has a major impact on education in Liberia. He said it diminishes cognitive functioning and, even worse, forces children to stay home from school.
“People shouldn’t be dying of preventable diseases,” says Veldis, who believes that no child should have to miss school because of malaria.
The aim of the radio workshop is to bring young people’s perspectives into the debate around education in emergencies and post-crisis situations, as well as to commemorate the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
This was the second in a series of workshops conducted by UNICEF Radio and the Back on Track programme.
UNICEF Liberia will broadcast all the children’s stories to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the CRC, which grants children the right to good quality health care, among other rights.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Liberia continues to work with community radio programmes throughout the country to involve the new youth journalists and empower young people by giving them the chance to broadcast their voices throughout Liberia.