Pikin to Pikin Radio Project/Hospital Hubbub Radio Project


Hospital Hubbub, ‘Poetry Conversations’, wins first prize at the 2018/19 Creative Learning Guild National Awards in the Digital and Film category.



During the Ebola crisis, Penny was the series editor of  a radio project called ‘Pikin to Pikin Tok’ for the child rights agency, ‘Child to Child‘ and their partner, ‘Pikin to Pikin’ in Sierra Leone.  She devised three series,  ‘Story Time’, ‘Under the Mango Tree’ and ‘Messages through Music’ which enabled children to support each other, share life saving messages and air their own strong opinions and ideas about their communities.

The programmes were first broadcast in the east of the country, where Sierra Leone borders Guinea and Liberia, in the Kailahun district, which is also where Ebola first began and where  the NGO ‘Pikin to Pikin’ (which means ‘Child to Child’ in the lingua franca, Krio) had been working before Ebola began.

Penny worked closely with the NGO ‘Child to Child’ and the community in Sierra Leone to ensure the programmes had the maximum impact.  A key feature of this was the use of powerful traditional stories, told by Sierra Leonean storyteller and presenter, Usifu Jalloh,  which inspired both the children and the adults to tell their own stories.  The Sierra Leonean social workers (Tamba Amara, Timothy Sello and Kabba Kylie) and Child to Child’s Sierra Leone project manager, Bella Tristram, were also an essential part of the project’s success.  The children respected the social workers and felt safe with them.  The children and their social workers were trained in recording techniques and then, when the programmes began to be aired and became extremely popular, large numbers of children wanted to take part.

The radio project was shortlisted for a BOND International Development Innovation award
and hailed as a model of good practice by the United Nations.  Pikin to Pikin Tok also won an award at Oxford University and has been selected as a case study for the World Health Organisation.

You can hear this BBC World Service programme, Ebola Voices, produced by Penny about the Pikin to Pikin Tok radio project.

You can also hear examples of two of the radio project programmes here:-

Pikin to Pikin Tok: Story Time (Three Little Goats) presented by storyteller Usifu Jalloh. You can hear the children’s responses after the story is told.


Pikin to Pikin Tok: ‘Under the Mango Tree’ : a group of boys express their support for girls and young women who are being raped and abused in their communities.

Pikin to Pikin Tok programmes were presented by the children and social workers in the community in Kailahun district, Sierra Leone and Usifu Jalloh, Showers Jalloh and Anni Domingo in the UK.

Penny is currently working on FAMBUL TOK for Child to Child and UNICEF,  also to be broadcast in Sierra Leone later this year and focussing on the new early childhood development programme being initiated by UNICEF, and exploring family relationships. This radio project was funded by the Open Society Foundation West Africa.


The HOSPITAL HUBBUB project was funded by Oxford Festival of the Arts in 2017.

The children at Oxford’s John Radcliffe hospital school worked closely with Penny producing podcasts about their life in hospital.   The HOSPITAL HUBBUB podcasts are both audio only and audio with still images.  The aim was for the children to learn about podcasts, build their confidence through broadcasting,  discover their presenting skills, and reach out to other children – both those already in hospital and those  preparing to enter hospital.

On many occasions, during the process, children ‘met’ each other by listening and responding to each other through audio.

Penny has devised a process she calls ‘Children’s audio dialogue‘ that allows children to connect  through audio,  even when they cannot meet in person.  This method allows fresh and supportive and empowering child to child connection,  packed full of ideas – and all enabled by the radio producer.

The audio only podcasts were broadcast on hospital radio and all the podcasts are available online.

You can listen to one of the audio podcasts here.  It is presented by Clover and is called ‘THE SENSES”.  The children talk about the five senses in relation to hospital and home.


You can hear all the podcasts on the hospital website.

Penny looks forward to working with the children again in 2018.

This time the focus will be poetry.