Teaching Kids Their Rights, Transforming Their World

31 May 2019 | Education, SAT-7 KIDS

In many parts of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), babies born today will grow up deprived of their full human rights. Now, SAT-7 is giving the region’s children something lifechanging: an understanding of their rights and how to advocate for them. The fun new program Puzzle is more than a gameshow – it is a gamechanger.

Every child in the MENA has the right, under international law, to a childhood free of violence, discrimination, and exploitation. They are also entitled to grow up in a healthy living environment with access to education.

But for many, the reality is stark. One in ten children are involved in child labour. One in five girls are married before the age of 18 – in Yemen, it is almost one third.

A fragmented region

Millions of children across the region are conflict victims or refugees, and many more are out of school. In some places, including across Egypt and Sudan, FGM remains widespread.

In many cases, the region’s human rights violations are driven by poverty and inequality.

Nicoletta Michael, SAT-7’s Development Manager, explains, “These are very fragmented societies. People from different socioeconomic or religious backgrounds, or who are refugees or migrants, are often not welcomed.”

Inspiring social change

With Puzzle, a new gameshow currently in production, SAT-7 KIDS will promote human rights and tolerance from the youngest members of society upward.

In each episode, two teams of 25 children will take part in a series of fun challenges. By engaging with the show’s activities and songs, young viewers aged12-15 will learn what their rights truly are – in particular their right to freedom of religion and belief.

As the two teams progress through the rounds, they can win points, and the team with the most points will win the chance to take part in a social development project of their choice.

A voice for the voiceless

The knowledge children will gain from Puzzle will change lives.

When children know their rights, they are equipped to know when a situation they face is not right. They can challenge prejudice when they see it – and grow up to be adults who will change their region for the better, for good.

Puzzle will also help today’s adult viewers understand and advocate for children’s rights, improving intergenerational relationships in families and communities.

Inspiring social change

Although the program will be made in Lebanon, the children taking part will be from a variety of nationalities and socioeconomic backgrounds in the MENA. “We want to give a voice to those who are usually excluded,” Nicoletta Michael says.

In this way, the show itself will model tolerance for viewers. The name Puzzle itself suggests co-operation and inclusivity, as Michael explains:

“Just as interlocking puzzle pieces come together to make a complete picture, each member of society is linked to others. Although we are all unique and come from different socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, our diversity makes society’s ‘picture’ complete,” she says.

From online to on the ground

Along with the show’s 26 45-minute episodes, viewers can engage further via an e-learning platform. Additional multimedia content will focus on enabling parents, teachers, and caregivers to understand and advocate for children’s rights.

To develop the show and the accompanying projects on the ground, SAT-7 is working with established non-governmental organisation Right to Play.

EDUCATION BEYOND TELEVISION

Alongside the SAT-7 ACADEMY channel, SAT-7 has launched an e-learning platform on a new interactive website, www.sat7academy.com. Here viewers can watch programs on demand, customise their learning, and track their progress.

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