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DRP works with local radio stations to bring reliable information to those who need it most. This not only empowers the listening community it brings positive changes to these communities.
Radio Program Encourages Dialogue
Since September, stations have been urging survivors of gender-based violence to report these crimes to local authorities. After several months of programming by Voice of Livingstonia Radio in Mzuzu City, the number of reports increased more than five-fold. The Mzuzu Police Public Relations Officer credits the radio programs for making it easier for people to talk about once taboo subjects.
Boys Stand Up for Mistreated Girls
Each DRP-partner station hosts two radio listening clubs – one of boys and one of girls – who listen to each of the broadcasts, discuss the issues, and provide feedback and story ideas to the station. At Chanco Radio in Zomba, members of the all-boys radio listening club have been talking to classmates about the harm that bullying causes – particularly to girls who are having their periods. Their discussions led to several classmates serving as monitors – and reporting bullying to their teachers. The bullying had been occurring as girls were leaving the changing rooms during their menstruation period. The changing rooms were built by teachers after previous programs were broadcast about girls missing school each month because there werenʼt sanitary facilities for them to use.
Youth Challenge the Community to Confront Their Taboos
DRP-trained journalists at nine stations across Malawi are reporting on touchy subjects and challenging the community to address their concerns. On Umoyo Community Radio in Mangochi, for example, the station reported that 20 girls had dropped out of three local schools because of inappropriate sexual comments from teachers. For the story, reporters – who are teens themselves – interviewed six of the girls. They also interviewed the headmasters of each school and they pledged to take all future complaints seriously. The reporters didnʼt stop there.
They talked about what to do if a student is confronted with such a situation and what their rights are. As a result, all 20 students returned to school.
Radio Gets Results
The senior reporter who mentors the youth reporters shared, “they are coming back to school after listening to the program we produced and now know how to protect themselves by reporting on the teachers. And the teachers themselves have been told by the headmasters they will be dismissed if there are future complaints.”
The youth reporters interviewed officials in the district education office to make sure legitimate complaints became part of a teacher's permanent record - thus affecting their future employment.