Community radios playing important role in promoting women's development in Shire Valley
Shire Valley-based community radio stations are making significant contributions to the development of women in the twin districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje.
Malawi: Shire Valley-based community radio stations are making significant contributions to the development of women in the twin districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje, according to Francis Mwale, Nyungwe FM Station Manager, writes Comfort Bulangete.
Mwale said Nyungwe FM is currently implementing various interventions to promote women's development.
For example, Nyungwe FM Radio introduced a programme called "Bwalo la Amayi," which is a phone-in programme that allows women to greet each other and share tips on how to care for their families and children.
Women formed various listeners clubs across the two districts with the goal of enhancing, promoting, and supporting one another in times of happiness, such as weldings, and sadness, such as funerals.
The programme focuses on women's entrepreneurship and empowerment.
The listening clubs are actively involved in charitable works such as assuring the poor, donating relief items to hospitals and prisons, and paying school fees for needy children.
"On the other hand, at Nyungwe FM, we have a programme called ‘Ufulu wa Amayi ndi Ana’ which has been extremely helpful in combating gender-based violence in families and communities. We have seen a significant reduction in GBV issues since the issues have been discussed on air with guests from various stakeholders and phone-in programmes. These programmes, I believe, have contributed significantly to the development of women because they provide a free forum for women to meet and improve the livelihoods of the people of the Lower Shire, Chikwawa, and Nsanje districts,” Mwale stated.
In her remarks, Lea Malimbasa, District Information Officer for Chikwawa District Council, stated that the information provided to women through community radio stations educates them about economic independence and self-sufficiency.
Malimbasa said they use this knowledge to engage in economic activities and to better themselves and their communities.
"Women interested in agriculture are learning modern farming methods from community radio stations. They increase their yields after applying the knowledge to their farming. Programs that solicit listener feedback are also used to inform policymakers about how policies can be designed to improve the welfare of women,” Malimbasa said.
There are currently four community radio stations operating in Malawi's Shire Valley: Nyanthepa Community Radio Station and Gaka FM in Nsanje District, Chivomelezi and Nyungwe Community Radio Stations in Chikwawa.