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See-saws work by pushing each other: Power imbalances in relationships and how to share work and decisions

One of this edition’s stories from Malawi shows what miscommunication in a relationship might look like. Our Script of the week provides information about how couples can share work and decisions.

Katungwe Nkukankhana (See-saws work by pushing each other) is a drama that deals with power imbalances in a young couple’s marriage, a time when men often monopolize decisions, including decisions about sexual life and contraceptives.

This script about power imbalances in relationships showcases how harmful cultural practices are passed on from parents to children and, if tolerated in early marriage, can become rooted and passed on through generations. The story is about Takondwa, a young and newly-married woman who confronts gender and power imbalances in her relationship by not remaining silent. With support from their community, the couple find ways to divide household labour in a way that meets the needs of both Takondwa and her husband, Chimwemwe.

You might choose to present this drama as part of your regular farming program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. At the end of the drama, you could air a discussion featuring family planning experts. Or you could air an advertisement about family planning services in your country or area, and explain where young couples can find family planning services, as well as other sexual and reproductive health services.

You could also ask gender activists and listeners to phone in and discuss the issues in the drama and the reality on the ground. They can explain the laws that govern some of the issues in the drama and the family planning decisions that young couples need to make in the early part of their marriage, as well as how to share decision-making and power.

Duration of program, including intro and extro, 25-30 minutes.