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February 9, 2016  
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Developed in partnership with the United Nations and the Emmy award-winning producer, RCN Entertainment, What's Going On? is there on the ground, meeting real kids, in real places and telling their stories. Whether they live in Sierra Leone, Brazil or India, the series shows the shared experiences of children.

A well-known UN Goodwill Ambassador or other celebrity hosts each half-hour episode on a specific topic by getting to know the child in his or her world.

  • AIDS IN THE CARIBBEAN. Danny Glover travels to Port of Spain to witness the effects of HIV/AIDS on children and teenagers. He befriends 17-year-old Shawn, who fears ostracism if his classmates learn he is HIV-positive.
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  • CHILD SOLDIERS IN SIERRA LEONE. Abu declares, "We didn't play. We just fought." UN Messenger of Peace, Michael Douglas, hosts this sobering look at exploited children in a war-torn country where diamonds are traded for weapons.
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  • POVERTY IN AMERICA. Tim Robbins sees poverty and homelessness in New Your City. Meet Jessica, who cares for siblings while her dad works long hours for low pay, and J.R., who thinks shelter life is like being in prison.
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  • REFUGEES IN TANZANIA. In the heart of Africa, Angelina Jolie works with children victimized by long years of civil strife. She introduces the Fataki children - Tutsis who live in a sprawling refugee camp in Tanzania.
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Danny Glover visits Trinidad and Tobago to explore HIV/AIDS; Michael Douglas meets former child soldiers in Sierra Leone; Tim Robbins examines poverty in the United States; Angelina Jolie takes us to a refugee camp in Tanzania, and Susan Sarandon interacts with child labourers in Brazil Other episodes cover landmines in Cambodia, girls' education in India, and indigenous kids Australia.
  • CHILD LABOR IN BRAZIL. In a dump on Recife's outskirts, 12-year-old Eleandra picks garbage seven days a week, and a boy named Reina earns a few pennies pounding rocks into gravel. Susan Sarandon interviews them.
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  • LANDMINES IN CAMBODIA. Suk Ratha remembers only the deafening explosion that changed her life forever. Mon Man lost his leg while picking vegetables. Actor Laurence Fishburne tells their stories and others.
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  • GIRLS' EDUCATION IN INDIA. Travel to India with Brazilian-born actress, Sonia Braga, who explores how girls are typically educated in this largely Hindu country that is home to more than one billion people.
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  • STREET CHILDREN IN MONGOLIA. Richard Gere reviews the plight of street children in Ulanbaatar and other cities in this remote country between China and Russia.
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  • INDIGENOUS CHILDREN IN AUSTRALIA. Actress Rachel Ward works with aboriginal children and teens in Australia's urban centers and the country's vast outback.
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  • CONFLICT IN NORTHERN IRELAND. Whether Catholic or Protestant, Northern Ireland's children suffer the effects of religious strife. In this episode, Meg Ryan helps tell their unhappy stories.
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The UN Works Programme co-produced this groundbreaking 10-part family television series that portrays the daily struggles and hopes of children living in crisis.

Originally aired on Showtime Networks in the United States, and later with other broadcasters worldwide, What's Going On? explores critical global issues such as war, environmental degradation, discrimination and poverty through the eyes of a child. The goal is to explain the origins of a problem, put a human face on an issue and promote a message of tolerance and understanding.

Available in videocassette or DVD format. Grades 6 and up. Closed captioned. Color. Approximately 28 minutes each, RCN Entertainment. ©2003.

Responses to the series can be made through the UN Works website at and through online learning resources with CyberSchoolBus. Young viewers benefit from action and self-expression when faced with tough situations. Providing a way for people to reach out to those in need will strike a healthy, proactive balance with the harsh realities examined by What's Going On?.

The producer, RCN Entertainment, has an impressive record in providing entertaining and educational television.

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