Reaching Across Borders in the Southern Caucasus

February 17, 2006

Irakli Miqiashvili is a 16 year old who is part of the team of “Kids’ Crossroads,” a teen-produced cross-border television program in the Caucasus that covers topics ranging from conflict resolution and prevention to social inclusion and health issues.

After participating in a 3-week journalism workshop conducted by Internews Georgia at the Summer Television Camp, 16 year old Irakli Miqiashvili discovered that journalism was exactly what he wanted to do. He was selected, along with five others, for the working team of “Kids’ Crossroads” called “Chveni Exspresi” (Our Express) in Georgia.

“Kids’ Crossroads” is a hands-on project that teaches young people in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia how to address the issues that matter to them through television. The project lets teens produce their own TV programming covering topics ranging from conflict resolution and prevention to social inclusion and health issues. Through the medium of television, adolescents can share with their peers across the region the common challenges of growing up.

Each “Kids’ Crossroads” program features teen-produced clips on healthy lifestyles, a news segment and segment about a current issue, investigated by young reporters from any or all of the three participating countries.

Since September 2005, Irakli has been preparing stories for the program. “Producing this program gives me a good chance to get acquainted with young people not only in my own country, but in Azerbaijan and Armenia as well. Their problems have become our problems. We are sure that broadcasting their ideas and our ideas makes us grow closer to each other.”

The teens on the “Kids’ Crossroads” team work with professionals and get paid for their work. Before working on the program, Irakli was mostly interested in computers. He feels that working in television has broadened his horizons.

“Before coming here, I wasn’t as free as I am now. Now I’m sure that I can do more than I could do months ago. My Russian has become much better. Besides, now I know that I have something to do. It’s my work and I’m always busy. That’s much better than doing nothing and wasting time.”

In 2005, UNICEF invited “Kids’ Crossroads” to take part in the celebration of International Children’s Day of Broadcasting. The team prepared two hours of programming, focused on healthy lifestyles, to be broadcast on public television.

Launched in 2004, “Kids Crossroads” is a three-year initiative implemented with financial support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Internews Georgia and UNICEF.