NMG, Unicef partner to highlight children’s issues ahead of polls

Unicef’s Maniza Zaman and NMG's Stephen Gitagama

Unicef’s representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman (left) and Nation Media Group CEO Stephen Gitagama on March 23, 2022 with  a dummy of a pull-out on children’s issues to be published monthly. NMG has partnered with Unicef to champion children’s rights ahead of the August 9 polls.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

The Nation Media Group (NMG) has partnered with Unicef to champion children’s rights during campaigns for the August 9 General Election.

NMG chief executive Stephen Gitagama said that under the partnership, the company will highlight children’s issues in its print media and multimedia publications and through its television station NTV.

“Most of the time children’s issues are ignored and low investment is made towards improving them. We will be running a campaign to tell the country that children’s issues also matter and should be part of the country’s top agenda as we go into the election,” Mr Gitagama said.

NMG and Unicef will produce multiplatform content that will create awareness about children’s issues, drive conversations about children and emphasise their rights across the print, broadcast and digital platforms.

“We shall tell stories of children from across the country, with a focus on the priority issues affecting them, host televised town hall meetings that will give political aspirants an opportunity to table their agenda to an audience comprising children and adolescents to enable them to engage, ask questions and seek clarity from the candidates,” he said.

NMG CEO Stephen Gitagama

NMG CEO Stephen Gitagama speaks on March 23, 2022. He said that under the partnership with Unicef, the company will highlight children’s issues in its print media and multimedia publications

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Children’s opinions and voices

“The media house will also carry children’s opinions and voices, discussions and views on the upcoming elections across our platforms, from TV (Generation 3) to print (JuniorSpot pullout).

“We shall also publish special content across our print publications that will emphasise this messaging and call upon adults to take their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews into consideration as they cast their votes,” Mr Gitagama said.

He said politicians should include children’s issues in their manifestos as they seek to win elective seats.

Several debates have also been lined up in the media, including by the Kenya Editors Guild, where children’s issues will be discussed.

“When NMG was established, one of the roles it said it would perform is to be the voice of the voiceless and during this election period, we shall advocate for the children’s voices,” he said.

Children, he said, are entitled to the fulfilment of their social and economic rights, the same way they are entitled to protection from harm.

“As we gear up for August 9, it is pertinent that we keep the next generation at the top of our mind as we campaign, report, vote and make plans for the future of the country,” he said.

Unicef’s representative to Kenya, Maniza Zaman

Unicef’s representative to Kenya, Maniza Zaman. She said the organisation believes that children’s issues matter and should be part of the agenda in this year’s elections.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Part of polls agenda

Unicef’s representative to Kenya, Maniza Zaman, said the organisation believes that children’s issues matter and should be part of the agenda in this year’s elections.

Ms Zaman said Unicef has identified six areas concerning children that should be addressed by leaders.

They include children’s best start to life, connecting every school to the internet, expanding primary and community health, education and learning, ending violence against children, cushioning the poor and halting climate change.

“The government has to focus on investing on the first years of a child by ensuring they have access to healthcare, have healthy brain development, get access to quality education, ensure children are free from violence, ensure that they have access to food and that the adverse effects of the changing climate pattern do not affect children’s development,” she said.

Unicef Maniza Zaman and NMG CEO Stephen Gitagama

Unicef representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman (left) and NMG CEO Stephen Gitagama when they met on March 23, 2022. NMG and Unicef will produce multiplatform content that will create awareness about children’s issues.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Investing in children’s issues

Ms Zaman said the NMG-Unicef partnership will help bring to the attention of the government and leaders the importance of investing in children’s issues.

The 2019 census indicated that children aged zero to 14 years made up 39 per cent of Kenya’s population, while adolescents (10-19 years) made up 24.5 per cent.

“This means that a large number of the people living in the country are ineligible to vote in the upcoming General Election as a result of their age,” Mr Gitagama said.

“Children and adolescents, however, form a big constituency whose interests and voices matter just as much as the adults who can vote and contribute towards political campaigns.”

He said key pillars such as access to quality education, social protection, proper nutrition, gender equality and ending violence against children must therefore be top priorities for Kenya as candidates vie for office and voters make their decisions at the ballot box.


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