Getting women active in the community radio studios

 

In the reality of community radio for development, special efforts are usually required to ensure women’s share of the space in the studios, in the editorial groups and on radio management boards. Where community radio for development is the order of the day, women’s lives not least in the rural areas, are extremely full and busy. One will not find a woman in the studio unless it is clear that contributing time and work in the community radio has a direct positive benefit to life outside the studios.

Many things can be done to involve women more actively in community radio stations. One such example is from Mozambique, where a 2001 survey had shown that two out of the thirty-two radios on air at the time had no women involved at all; one radio station had only two women broadcasters; and most of the remainder had around ten per cent. Only two exceptions reported around forty per cent of women among the people involved at all levels of the life of the stations. To address this situation and to strengthen the role and involvement by women in the rapidly growing community radio movement, the Women’s Community Radio Network was established, which organised a national festival.

As a result of the festival it was agreed to continue the work to strengthen the role of women in the communities in Mozambique. It was also agreed to utilise community radio to ensure that women would benefit from them by getting a voice, becoming an integrated part of all development debates and gaining general public visibility and respect. Three regional networks were formed to keep in touch and to meet at regular intervals — national travel being very expensive. Not least, the ‘Chimoio declaration’ was adopted as a summary of the in-depth work during the three days of the festival.

 

Declaration of Chimoio

‘We, the women of the Community Radios in Mozambique …meeting in a National Festival in the city of Chimoio, on 19-20 July 2003, have decided to set up ‘The network of women in Community Radios in Mozambique”…in order to pursue the following objectives:     

  • To encourage activities seeking to ensure that women enjoy the same rights, duties and opportunities as men, as stipulated under the Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique, and recommended in the Beijing Declaration, and in the principles of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD);
  • To encourage activities that seek to guarantee the socio-economic development of the community, empowering the areas of women's education, and of producing and publicising information on women's rights, duties and achievements;
  • To encourage activities seeking to eliminate traditional and cultural practices that hinder women's development in all spheres;
  • To encourage activities that seek to increase women's self-confidence, so that they may take on the role of the main generators of positive changes in the community;
  • To encourage activities seeking to create legal mechanisms (policies, regulations and institutional rules) for improving women's working environment on Community Radios;
  • To encourage activities aimed at ensuring women's access to leadership positions in Community Radio, by raising their level of training, including self-training, and recognising their professional competence and abilities;
  • To encourage activities that seek to lay solid foundations for raising the spirit of solidarity between women themselves, and between women and men, on the basis of mutual respect and equal opportunities, and with the objective of facilitating the participation and integration of all the small communities within the large community in the development process;
  • To encourage activities seeking to guarantee the production of programmes with content relevant to women and from a women's perspective;
  • To encourage activities seeking to ensure women's participation in producing programmes in all areas of community interest, to ensure the inclusion of women's experiences and viewpoints;
  • To encourage activities seeking to allow an exchange between Community Radios of content and of programmes produced by women;
  • To encourage activities seeking to guarantee access to national or international information on the performance of women, in order to encourage and inspire women in the communities;
  • To encourage activities that seek to allow an exchange of information between members of the Network of Women on the Community Radios, through the publication of a bulletin.

In conclusion:

  • We, the Women of the Community Radios in Mozambique, express our willingness and total commitment to implement responsibly the objectives of the network contained in the present Chimoio declaration,
  • And we urge all actors in the social development of the country in general, and of the communities in particular, to join us in pursuing our noble objectives.’[1]

The result of the festival was remarkable. In most stations women returned from the festival and mobilised women. The number of active women in the stations grew to an average of between twenty-five and thirty percent. 

[1] Chimoio, 20 July 2003