Radio Kwizera knows women are important to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

| March 29, 2020

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The broadcasters at Radio Kwizera, in northwestern Tanzania, know that women are important to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals were established by the United Nations and aim for a more prosperous world for everyone. But women and girls face a multitude of challenges that limit how much they can benefit from actions taken towards achieving these goals.

This is why women and girls—and the challenges they face—often feature on Funguka Mwana Kwetu (Open to our Child),a documentary program that airs the last Saturday of the month, and is re-broadcast the first Saturday of the following month.

This program is presented and produced by two women: Auleria Gabriel and Amina Semagogwa. They are supported by technician Yohana Bita and driver Khamis Mkama.

The purpose of the program is to provide an opportunity for women in rural areas to raise their voices about the various barriers they face in achieving development. For example, one episode focused on how some rural women in Ngara district, Kagera region, are engaged in agricultural activities but are not allowed to harvest or sell their crops. This limits how much the women can benefit from their labour.

To produce the program, Mrs. Gabriel and Mrs. Semagogwa get updates on local issues by communicating with village leaders, district authorities, and civil society organizations involved in women’s rights. After choosing a story idea, they follow up to gather information for the program.

To gather voices, they often have to travel over mountainous terrain to reach women and men in rural areas, sometimes walking to reach remote villages. When there, they collect interviews, discussions, and vox pops for their program, which is fully recorded and produced before it is broadcast.

The broadcasters try to record and broadcast the voices of both women and men, but find it challenging to convince women to speak out about the abuse they experience. Ngara district is patriarchal: Women may not have the right to speak without their husbands’ permission.

But the program has definitely prompted discussion off-air. For example, after a program on gender-based violence, the chairman of Nterungwe village convened a meeting to admonish men who abuse their wives. He has since followed up with the journalists at Radio Kwizera to say that incidents of violence have been reduced and more women are empowered to sell their agricultural products.

Radio Kwizera collects feedback from listeners via their Facebook page. This is how they know that abuse, violence, and oppression still affect women in their area in many ways. But it’s also how they receive praise for raising important issues and encouraging action.

Radio Kwizera was a runner-up for the Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio in 2020. Read more profiles of the runners-up and winner in the Spotlight section.