A faint crackle emanates from the radio. After a few seconds, the static clears to pick up the sound of voices. They belong to the Ukerewe Young Reporters, a youth radio group established by Standing Voice in 2016. The group meet monthly to record and broadcast their stories, and reconvened in June to document the inaugural Summer Skills Workshop and International Albinism Awareness Day celebrations at the Umoja Training Centre.
The Ukerewe Young Reporters’ Group was established by Standing Voice in partnership with Kennington Overseas Aid (KOA), the Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF), and the Mwanza Youth and Children Network (MYCN). Consisting of 11 individuals with and without albinism, ranging from 15 to 25 years of age, the Ukerewe Young Reporters have spent the last year developing skills in media production and broadcasting. Trained by MYCN, they have completed workshops in foundational topics of media — ethics and consent, audio debate, storytelling, news, and on-location reporting — and become proficient in the use of specialist radio equipment. Professional development aside, the Young Reporters have moreover been empowered to act as ambassadors, within but also beyond the topic of albinism: together they have harnessed the power of radio, platforming themselves and one another to broadcast their hopes and priorities proudly before the world.
This year’s Summer Skills Workshop provided an exciting opportunity for the Young Reporters to further develop their skills, and to try their hand at documenting the rest of the event more widely. Interviewing participants in other workshops, as well as Standing Voice Executive Director Harry Freeland and the District Commissioner for Ukerewe, the Young Reporters recorded the Summer Skills Workshop as it unfolded: material they will share in public broadcasts across the Tanzanian Lake Zone in the months that lie ahead. A room has been assigned at the Umoja Training Centre as a future recording and production studio for the Young Reporters.
As they continue to record and share their stories, Ukerewe's Young Reporters will quite literally speak back to their society and defeat stigma with visibility. Together their voices will reach thousands of listeners, ensuring people with albinism are seen -- and heard -- like never before.
Standing Voice expresses its deepest gratitude to KOA, CRF, and MYCN, without whom this project could not take place.
All images credited to Harry Freeland, Josh Beattie, Brian Benson and The Umoja Photographers. Go here for a full list of credits.