The challenges at the national and local context that this social enterprise addresses are the opportunities available to young women. Chicks and the City significantly impacts the opportunities and resources available to a group of diverse girls aged 15 – 25 who do not have as much access to these resources as more privileged girls.
The government, donor support, and citizens’ involvement (or lack of) has been through funding for the past 14 years. However, this funding does not pay-off the time and energy required for the project to run successfully.
Derived from youth work being target boys and the want/need to create something for the girls, Chicks and the City was established in 2005 as Chica Radio. It was a result of brainstorming and collaborating with the girls. It has evolved from a show at Megastad FM, FunX, and RTV Rijnmond (when the name changed to Chicks and the City). From 2011 to 2018, the show aired at RTV Rijnmond. From 2019 onwards, it is a live stream podcast in the Rotterdam Library.
The principles of work that Natasja Morlaes upholds with Chicks and the City are those that encourage independence, collaboration, and responsibility amongst the girls. This work reinforces self-reliance. Having the girls participate on every level of the project is a principle of work that encourages learning valuable skills that come from inspirational, controversial, strange, and special guests and stories from the Rijnmond region. Education is highly valued, and the capacity to give young girls а voice is highly valued. This is put into practice by the way in which Chicks in the City is produced and how much power is given to the participants with the content, quality of work, and guidance.
Chicks and the City produces a new podcast every Wednesday evening in the Rotterdam Library and is live streamed with an audience. The program is made for and by girls, so everything that concerns young women is discussed. Chicks and the City’s primary focus is on 21st century skills and media wisdom.
The participating girls present, support, and make radio reports. Each week, six of the 25 girls participate in the show. Two Radio Chicks present the show amen with Natasja Morales, one Director Chick provides direction during the show, one Social Media Chick provides information on social media, one Report Chick makes a radio report that will be broadcasted during the show, and one Media Chick takes care of the live stream and the editing process afterwards. The show has between 40-60 young guests per season and 25 live shows.
The objectives of Chicks and the City are to discover and develop talents of the girls, to treat parenting issues that live with young people, to gain 21st century skills and become media wise. The organization collaborates and works towards their own podcast broadcast to give young people a platform to let their voices and opinions be heard. In that way, they will be able to give girls and guests a platform to discuss topics that remain unapproachable, to make girls and other participants playfully aware of the importance of the Dutch language, to generate attention for youth projects from the Rotterdam region. Chicks and the City offers a professional working environment and a useful leisure activity and provides an enriching meeting place for girls and guests. It creates a broad network with partners of the region to provide opportunities and possibilities for young people to participate in society in all kinds of areas, to offer listeners a podcast of great content quality that inspires, and to learn from one another.
Recruitment for the show happens through schools and school assignments, with various organizations that work with young people, the municipality of Rotterdam, various events where young people can be found, the various social media channels of Chicks and the City, with the promotion of Rotterdam Library, and the large network of Natasja Morales.
Chicks and the City also provides workshops at schools for media experience. Approx. 30 students per podcast season receive lessons in writing, language, filming, social media, and radio making.
The target groups of Chicks and the City are the young girls of the region (aged 15-25). These participating girls are those who chose to cooperate in their free time and they all have diverse backgrounds with less access to all facilities and resources.
However, parents and adults are interested as well. Therefore, this podcast is made for and by youth, but is the “survival and inspiration guide for the modern, cosmopolitan (young) woman and everyone who agrees”.
The prospective contribution for this project includes the continual support from the community for involvement and interest, the participation and cooperation of the girls who are volunteering their time to create this work, and continual support of funding that will enable the show to continue for many more years and impact many more young girls.
A challenge of Chicks and the City is the returning struggle to get project funding each year. The funding also does not cover all of the time required for the project, so it is a financial challenge in terms of sustaining the quality of work produced.
The social impact of Chicks and the City is on the participating girls who are given access to resources in the city that they would not have access to otherwise. The diversity among the participating girls also has an impact on the ability to learn from one another through the inspiration and motivation that come from their own stories and experiences.
The commitment of the show affects the girls’ sense of responsibility and continuous engagement and inspiration from each other and the guests of the show. All of the information is impactful on the participating girls and listeners in their development to become active members of their society.
The benefit of seeing young girls grow and the impact that social entrepreneurship has on their lives motivates Natasja. She has also learned how to be friends with the girls she works with, but also knows when she needs to be the professional in order to coach and mentor them.
On the national level, social entrepreneurship projects similar to this can be expanded and replicated through collaboration and sharing of best practices. This allows for the lessons learned to be applied elsewhere, having multiple communities benefit from social enterprises like Chicks and the City. With communication and collaboration on the national level, more work can be accomplished since more social entrepreneurs can produce and share their creative practices and help one another to be more effective and impactful.
On an international level, similar social initiatives can be expanded and replicated for the sharing of best practices and inspire the principles of work from other countries and cultures. This promotes diversity and international collaboration and cooperation.
Chicks and the City has inspired a documentary called “The girls of Chica Raido”, which was broadcasted at TV Rijnmond and had more that 1 million viewers. This film was also programmed at the national Dutch Film festival and nominated for a NL Award in 2011. This project was also nominated for the Aardig Onderweg Awards for local entrepreneurship