Mapping women’s role, place and circumstances in the community

Numerous reports assessing the impact of community radio include, as the most prominent, that after the arrival of the community radio, women are exposed to less violence from their husbands, that children are less abused in the families, that more female children begin to attend school and that women in general experience more respect in public spaces.

Such fundamental changes in culturally deep-rooted traditions do not happen by themselves. They take time and planning, which is important when wanting to spur this empowerment and change potential to take root in a community radio station. At the community mapping stage it is thus important to include a clear and comprehensive mapping and analysis of the role, place and reality of women in the community. This information will inspire the way the station will deal with women in the station, the themes to be addressed in the programming and the way they are treated.  [Community Mapping]

The social mobilisation process needs to be based on a careful identification of the many sub-communities within each community: who are we? Which groups can we identify? Generic groupings include women and men, youth and elderly; but also different ethnic or religious groups are often important, as can be different livelihood or professional groups. <span style="color: #dd3b00;"><strong>Each of these groups will have its own</strong></span> specific context (traditions, rules, challenges, vulnerabilities etc.), hopes and interests as well as resources and possible contributions to make. In addition, these issues do not usually exist in isolation, but within a close inter-relationship between the different sub-communities, and every person will always belong to several such sub-communities.

Community mapping is best done by the community itself, ideally with some external facilitation. In this way, the exchange of information and dialogue inherent to the mapping process already forms a natural part of the mobilisation process – and it is a powerful learning process.

The initial rounds of mobilisation then ideally culminate in the community electing some form of an installation committee, as mentioned above. To ensure credibility it is important to ensure that as many of the different communities within the community are represented and at the same time that sufficient capacity is found in the group to drive the initial community radio installation process forward.
It is recommended that community mapping be carried out in two stages. The first should be in a community meeting, open to all interested, where the community and all its elements are physically drawn up. This enables the group to identify the different communities and interests which exist within their community.