The program is based on the curriculum from Child Steps International Liberia (CSI), funded by 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 has now provided the platform for open access to it," said Massa Crayton, OSIWA Liberia Country Officer. “Access to civics knowledge at home, community and school is one of the most useful keys that opens the door to civic participation.”
The LAW+YOU Radio Show can be heard weekly on UNMIL Radio at 4pm on Tuesdays. It’s based on the "LAW+YOU" school civics curriculum, launched in select elementary, junior and 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 Tenneh Johnson Kemah, President and Founder of CSI. "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 the show and co-host.
"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:
July 19: Branches of Government & Separation of Powers
July 26: Celebrating Our Independence
August 2: How and Why We Vote
August 9: Human Rights
August 16: Children’s Rights
August 23: Disability Rights
August 30: Rights & Responsibilities of the Citizen
September 6: Nonviolence & Conflict Resolution
FrontPage Africa Reporter Danesius Marteh will also be gathering stories for the LAW+YOU Radio Show. He 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,” said Marteh. “There are everyday heroes, we just don’t always see them.”
Listeners can also weigh in on topics using the show's Facebook page or call in during the show. "We really want open conversations and diverse viewpoints," said Wilson, as he prepared last week for the show. "We Liberians are strong enough to handle different opinions. Let's do it with respect, logic and a true understanding of the law."