The new Multi-Media Centre complex in Cotonou, Benin, bustles with activity. In every room, young people from around the
country—nearly 300 in all—are learning how to be print journalists,
photographers, radio and TV broadcasters, magazine writers, layout artists, computer graphics experts, web designers, videographers, digital videotape editors, and radio and TV
Launched by UNFPA in cooperation with the Government,
the centre integrates job training with education about preventing HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies, so trainees can also become local advocates for healthier behaviours. The television
and 24-hour radio station offer programmes produced by and for youth and have large audiences: 1 million TV viewers and 300,000 daily radio listeners.
Many of the adolescents who frequent the centre are
dropouts (in Benin, only 7 per cent of girls and 17 per cent of boys go on to secondary school). Without the centre they would have few options to learn livelihood skills or gain sound
information about reproductive health.
The centre is one component of a comprehensive project,
Health and Social Services for Adolescents (EAGER), supported by the United Nations Foundation as part of a multicountry initiative on adolescent girls. EAGER also supports
youth and leisure centres, youth-friendly health clinics and education, with an emphasis on reducing illiteracy among young women and girls. See Sources