If Brexit and the state of elections around the globe have you wondering what happened to basic education on government systems and citizenship, you may be glad to hear that civics education is on the airwaves in Liberia.
The LAW+YOU radio show, launched on UNMIL Radio 91.5FM on July 5, will be aired every Tuesday at 4:00PM.
The program is based on the curriculum from Child Steps International Liberia (CSI) and funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
“We began working with Child Steps International Liberia four years ago when they started LAW+YOU in schools. We are very happy to see the program take strong roots and move out into communities.
“We are thrilled that UNMIL Radio has now provided the platform for open access to it. Access to civics knowledge at home, community and school is one of the most useful keys that open the door to civic participation,” said Massa Crayton, OSIWA Liberia Country Officer.
It is based on the “LAW+YOU” school civics curriculum, launched in select elementary, junior and senior high schools in 2013 and now expanding to others.
The show will cover topics such as the structure of government, property and tax law, corruption and transparency, human rights, voting, conflict resolution, public health, economics and civic participation.
“Citizens need to have knowledge of the government before they can participate, said CSI president and founder Tenneh Johnson Kemah.
“Democracy only works if people participate, and no one can effectively do that if they don’t understand how the government works and what their rights are.”
The show will include interviews with experts and citizens, callers voicing their views, listener games and a segment highlighting the work of individuals improving their communities.
“Besides an understanding of government structure and function, we want to highlight the stories of everyday people who are just working hard in their own communities to make a difference,” said Henrique Wilson, the show’s host.
Along with Wilson, UNMIL Radio staff, Martina Brooks, will produce and co-host the show.
“It’s a call-in show. So we are hoping for some lively discussions about the topics… but always with respect,” said Brooks.
Upcoming topics include: democracy and the constitution on July 12; branches of government and separation of powers on July 19; celebrating our independence on July 26; how and why we vote on August 2; human rights on August 9; children’s rights on August 16; disability rights on August 23; rights and responsibilities on August 30 and nonviolence and conflict resolution on September 6.
FrontPage Africa sports editor Danesius Marteh will also be gathering stories for the program.
Marteh will produce special reports, as well as interviews with local community residents about their views on civics topics.
“We want to hear from many voices, and that means going out to the people to get their views, their stories. They are every day heroes. We just don’t always see them,” said Marteh.
Listeners can also weigh in on topics using our Facebook page or call in during the show.
“We really want open conversations and diverse viewpoints. Liberians are strong enough to handle different opinions. Let’s do it with respect, logic and a true understanding of the law,” said Wilson, as he prepared last week for the show, according to a press release yesterday.