By Bernardo Caceres Vegas, Network Coordinator

Kids News Network proudly announces the launch of World Kids News (WKN), a TV pilot and Internet platform showcasing the best news items that have been tailor-made for children by the network’s members in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Follow the link, to find out more about WKN, but come back for some behind the scenes info.

Way beyond spelling the adult news to the kids, KNN ensures that news for children is understandable, non-sensational, and relevant. It provides a platform for children to express themselves freely, on matters both big and small, in their homes, classrooms, towns, countries and indeed in the world at large.

In 2008 during the Beijing Olympics, a team of KNN producers and experts provided a daily feed for our national audiences on the lives and dreams of the Chinese youth. This collective effort confirmed KNN was more than the sum of the national programs and their audiences.

Now that kids in 8 countries enjoy exchanged items, and visit and greet KNN sites in four continents, it is time for the KNN vision to grow still bigger.

In the following weeks, a new KNN Collective will cover the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The team’s best items will make up the next bulletin of World Kids News. And from month to month in 2010, WKN thematic episodes will be available for TV networks and cable operators’ worldwide.

Last but not least, we thank the kids news in the Netherlands, the NOS Jeugdjournaal, for hosting the first WKN broadcast.

We invite you to follow and promote WKN, and help us empower children around the world – to be better informed and with high self-esteem – ready to pursue freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights and the planet.

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by Bernardo Caceres Vegas, Network Coordinator

Packed of enthusiasm and great ideas, the KNN 2010 summit, last week in Johannesburg, was a big success, with presence of kids news makers from 10 different countries.

We confirmed our determination to build a strong network for kids empowerment through information and free expression.

The 2010 Best Item Award went to the recently launched  Caribbean Kids News, and was proudly received by CKN editor in chief Sulin Passial.

Kids and soccer, the news in Soweto, was covered by crews from Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia training for KNN’s coverage of the world cup.

Standing l. to r. : Daniel Bello (NAPA-Peru), Nkosinathi Mkhize (Kids News, South Africa), Katja Michael (KNN Program Officer), Toe Zaw Latt (Youth Voice, Democratic Voice of Burma), Ole Chavannes (KNN Program Manager), Jihad Abufala (Community Media Network, Jordan), Bordina Muala (Telejunior, Mozambique), Jacqui Hlongwane (SABC, South Africa), Mabvuto Phiri (Z-Kids, Zambia). Seating l. to r.: Hasina Kathrada (KNN Regional Program Officer Africa), Soelami Starke (Ten Minuten, Suriname), Ria Ernunsari (KNN Regional Program Officer Asia), Sulin S.F. Passial (Caribbean Kids News, Dutch Antilles), Bernardo Caceres Vegas (KNN Network Coordinator).

Commitments for collaboration and exchange, new targeted audiences in the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, the new KNN Radio strategy, are set for the coming year. The fleet of KNN news rooms is only bigger and stronger.

Kids News Network keeps growing and getting stronger. 2010 has already hosted the  launch of Telejunior, KNN Mozambique, and now firmly steps towards giving Jordanian children information and a voice in television and Internet.

This most recent picture – set before the Dead Sea horizon- portraits the subscription of a memorandum of understanding to introduce KNN to Jordanian kids. Jordan’s Community Media Network founder and director Daoud Kuttab signed Saturday with Free Voice’s Bart Dijkstra. The Dutch Ambassador to Jordan Johanna van Vliet, and the newly chosen director of Free Voice Jan Bonjer also attended the bonding event.

Daoud Kuttab founder and director of Community Media Network (CMN) which runs Radio al Balad and Ammannet.net website, said that being able to produce TV news for children is a dream come true. “We have been doing a school radio program for years and we feel that a kids news program on TV will be widely received by children in Jordan who are the majority of the population”.

Free Voice will support this project with a grant of 150,000 euros, provided that CMN also makes a contribution necessary for the success of the project which is estimated  at 350,000 euros. Both parties will have to fundraise the remaining amount. Katja Michael, the program officer of Kids News Network at Free Voice along with their Middle East coordinator Jan Keulen and staffers from Community Media Network met with local and international foundations and ambassadors to enlist their support to fund this unique media program.

By: Bernardo Caceres Vegas, Network Coordinator

It’s 2 a.m. Thursday, and as I depart from the COP, youth leaders from different nations demonstrate inside Bella Center, decided not to move as a mean to pressure the UN delegates to come up with the biding treaty the planet needs and the people in the streets ask for.

After their impotent witnessing of the politicians failure, they will hopefully have learned the Copenhagen lesson: Don’t expect bureaucrats to solve the problems; instead bring the change to your own life, promote it in your community, be informed and participate in the urgent public opinion push towards sustainability.

“The meeting has had a positive result, everyone should be happy,” said Xie Zhenhua, the head of China’s delegation… He and his fellow Copenhagen Accord subscribers (aside China, Brazil, India, South Africa and the USA) are lonely against the rest of the delegations (the non industrialized countries, the short-term endangered countries, even the European Community) qualifying the COP summit from disappointing to total disaster…

But in the side scene, NGOs, clean energy promoters, alternative think tanks and grass root organizations, network the people’s path to more harmonious livelihoods. Their strives to take modern services to rural areas, promote organic food security, respect the indigenous ways and knowledge, preserve biodiversity, support fair trade, also converged in Copenhagen and must further permeate society.

Outside the Bella Center, a final picture in the snow. The KNN team at COP 15 once again devoted coverage and networking for the empowering of our young audiences in (for now) 8 countries. Welcome the 2010 new challenges!

By: Bernardo Caceres Vegas, Network Coordinator

As the first snows fall in Copenhagen, also the “high-level segment” of COP 15 starts with first heads of state arriving, civil society and NGOs getting limited access to the Bella Center, and tougher security for everyone in and outside.

Access to the Plenary is from now on limited to the host broadcaster pool and national TV crews, accompanying high level delegations.

Banned of this year’s COP to directly address the plenary, kids and youth manage to get visibility through delegations broad here by NGOs and UN kid-friendly offices: it’s the case of Children in a Changing Climate, a global collaborative action-research, advocacy and learning programme supported by the Institute of Development Studies, Plan International, Save the Children UK, UNICEF, among others. Teenagers Reina, from Indonesia, Beatrice, from Kenya, and Leon, from the UK, claimed for kids and youth right to information and expression in and out the COP.

Later and finally out of Bella Center, that is downtown Copenhagen,  Young Leaders of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: An intergenerational dialogue on Climate Change, seated together the children and youth representatives with important adult leaders such as Ulla Tornaes, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark, accompanied by martial arts champion and film star Jet Li, now also the champion of kids and adolescents empowerment and free expression!

I thought I had seen it all in global mega events in the previous week at COP 15, but the week started with thousands of newcomers trying to get accredited into Bella Center. Some waited for hours under the freezing weather, some couldn’t make it inside. It was the case of the children expected to hand over “Green Footprints” to the UNFCCC Executive Secretary: The “Zoom – Climate Action” Alliance’s event had to be cancelled…

The fortunate early birds can get in the  headquarter and enjoy organic Danish apples or just crush in and crowd the Media Center to hopefully push representations and politicians with the understandable  impatience building up in citizens around the globe.

The Development and Climate Days Film Festival gave me a beautiful opportunity to show the Kids News Network experience to a selected audience of audiovisual producers and experts, all engaged in the promotion of a sustainable livelihood, gathered from all over the world by the Festival curator and promoter, Isabelle Lemaire. In exchange for the screening of a KNN Peru (NAPA) item, I get to learn from inspiring experiences such as Rosie Waller’s No Strings International animations, and India based Development Alternatives Group’s work, presented by its Chairman, Dr. Ashok Khosla.

The day closes for me at the Award Ceremony of the 2009 Internews Earth Journalism Awards, that celebrated the best in climate change reporting. My personal favorite, Kenyan ‘s Trash is Cash hip hop video, portraying kids and adolescents spreading the positive messages to the youth in the slums surrounding Nairobi. Her is the link, enjoy: http://awards.earthjournalism.org/finalist/trash-is-cash-kenya

By: Bernardo Caceres Vegas, Network Coordinator

Since early morning an inter generational crowd moves towards the 1 p.m. gathering at the Danish Parliament square. They are in many ways diverse, in nationalities, outfits, age groups, but equal in enthusiasm and commitment. Many kids and teenagers carry signs and shout the slogans calling politicians to urgent action towards sustainability.

My covering demonstrations for Peruvian media in the past two decades allows me two certitudes: There are much more than the 25.000 official figure attendance  in this 6 kmts. march to Bella Center’s COP 15 location (if you ask me, 50 to 60.000 would be more appropriate estimation), and secondly,  the hundreds of detainees were enormously abusive on the part of the Danish Police, in an overall very ordered and peaceful demonstration. But what can one expect in states around the world passing increasingly repressive and terrorising laws…

Immune to discouragement, youth leaders from around the world brought to Copenhagen by the British Council merge among the thousands of people confronting the powers behind consumerism and greed, and urging for a more planet friendly culture, despite the cold 2 degrees temperature under the fugacious and inconsistent sun shine.