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Yalla Nehna – Television for Syrian Children

The magazine programme Yalla Nehna (“Let's get started”) offers traumatised Syrian refugee children a safe space, conveys positive messages, and presents a world beyond war and violence. The concept for the programme was developed by the project team of the Deutsche Welle Akademie and implemented in collaboration with the Dubai-based Orient TV in only three and a half months. At the beginning of 2014 the IZI undertook a scientific study of the development of the format. On 17 and 18 February 2014, in order to evaluate the Yalla Nehna pilot programme, a total of 104 girls and boys aged between 8 and 12 in “Orient schools” in Reyhanli on the Syrian/Turkish border were interviewed.

Results: The evaluation of the the programme, was, on the whole, very positive. Both the response to question “Did you like the programme?” and the evaluation of the individual reports clearly suggest that the children liked the programme as a whole and the various reports very much.
There was also an extremely positive response to a studio report, an experiment carried out by the two presenters Farah and Michel. The children enjoyed the experiment, felt they were learning a lot, and had fun with the surprise, which some of them then presented to their family at home. The children also think the two presenters complement each other. Farah is the one who knows a lot, and Michel is the one who is always having fun and wants to learn lots. Both are bright and cheery.

Two concrete knowledge-based questions indicate that reception of the programme is accompanied by significant knowledge-gain. The knowledge-gain with the report by Die Sendung mit der Maus (The show with the mouse) is outstanding; the knowledge-gain with the studio experiment is good. However, it is clear that the programme reception does not only influence the children’s knowledge; the children’s attitude towards their own abilities changes during the course of the study, too. There is clear evidence that the programme strengthens children’s self-esteem by helping them to become aware of their own abilities. By making children the focus, presenting and celebrating their abilities, the programme also acknowledges the children who are watching the television.     

In this respect, Yalla Nehna is an exceedingly successful project that is not only fun and entertaining for Syrian refugee children but also, above all, enriches them in terms of the possibilities of television and in terms of their knowledge, strengthening their self-esteem and resilience.  

Trailer and further information on Yalla Nehna: