Blog 4 (Fall 2016) – Empowering Women Using ICT Skills At Radio Stations In Africa, by Cristina Delmundo

According to an article titled Our Africa, from the organization SOS Children’s Villages Africa, explains “Women have fought to achieve equal rights in many parts of Africa. But as in other regions of the globe, a woman’s status varies by country and region” (SOS Children’s Villages Africa). In some parts of Africa, often decisions are made by male heads of households or male chiefs, except Mozambique’s northern regions where particular groups are matrilineal (SOS Children’s Villages Africa). The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that two-fifths of all African girls are married before the age of 18 (SOS Children’s Villages Africa). According to the World Health Organization in 2010 with just 11% of the world’s population, Africa accounts for more than 50% of maternal deaths. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics – UIS explains that in sub-Saharan Africa, 81% of boys were registered at primary school during 2005-2009, compared to only 77% of girls. According to the World Health Organization in 2010 with just 11% of the world’s population, Africa accounts for more than 50% of maternal deaths. However in Africa, there are some positive changes being made where women have a chance to be in power. Such as increased knowledge about such life and death issues and instances where women are taking control of public health movements in many nations in Africa, at both local and national levels, says SOS Children’s Villages Africa. In 2011, Rwanda was the only country where women outnumbered men in government and since there is a high sum of women in Rwanda’s parliament, it has helped the passing of certain laws, such as harsher sentences for those using violence against women (SOS Children’s Villages Africa). African governments are beginning to embrace more female politicians. For instance in Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, became the first woman to be President of a modern African nation. Plus In 2012, Joyce Banda became Malawi’s first female President (SOS Children’s Villages Africa).

The UNESCO project “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” builds the capacity of 32 local radios in 7 African countries, from 2012 until end of 2014. “Its overall goal is to improve the lives of the poor, especially women and girls, by raising local radio stations’ quality programming”, says UNESCO.  According to Mirta Lourenço, Chief of the Section for Media Development at UNESCO says “UNESCO helps local radios acquire ICT skills, achieve an increased range of local news coverage as well as gender equality and financial sustainability” (UNESCO).  Project “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” provides specialized and free of charge quality training in Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to broadcasters of community radios in several parts of Africa using open source free software for radios. The project left community radio stations in Africa self-sustainable and with success that extend to this day.

In conclusion, Community radio stations can enable isolated communities across Africa to be more involved in decision making and to voice their own concerns. On air, ordinary folks debate matters that are important to them, such as gender relations and combating HIV/AIDS. They can communicate agricultural tips, generate ideas and discover ways to advance education. Communal radios offer insightful new prospects for more comprehensive sustainable development (Itai Madamombe). Women can use community radios to exchange ideas, voice their concerns and acquire information that are empowering to them.

 

 

REFERENCES

African Development Bank Group. (2015). AFRICA GENDER EQUALITY INDEX 2015. African Development Bank. Retrieved Nov. 15, 2016, from http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Publications/African_Gender_Equality_Index_2015-EN.pdf

Itai Madamombe. (2005, July). Community Radio: a voice for the poor. Retrieved Nov. 2016, from African Renewal: www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/july-2005/community-radio-voice-poor

SOS Children’s Villages Africa. (n.d.). Women. Retrieved Nov. 15, 2016, from Our Africa: http://www.our-africa.org/women

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2016, Jan. 8). “Empowering women using ICT skills at radio stations”. Retrieved Nov. 15, 2016, from You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpaMb9Uu0fc&list=PLWuYED1WVJINaMQ2jP12V7Upo6oHm4zJu&index=17

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