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Community radio encourages girls’ education in Mozambique
MAGANJA DA COSTA DISTRICT, Mozambique, 2 May 2008 – For almost a year, many families in Mozambique have awakened at daybreak to the pleasant voice of the young announcers at Erive Community Radio, the Maganja da Costa District’s new UNICEF-supported radio station.
Since the station began broadcasting, communities throughout the district have seen a gradual change in people’s behaviour – a change mainly affecting the lives of girls.
“In our radio programmes we discuss many children’s rights issues, such as our right to health, to protection against violence and abuse, and to education,” says the host of Erive’s children’s programme, Regina João Marenço, 14. “We have been given a lot of prominence to promote girls’ education.”
In the last year, the number of girls enrolled in Maganja da Costa’s primary schools has increased by almost 5,000.
In addition to the children’s programme, there are many other programmes broadcast for adolescents, women and the community in general.
“Today you often see people in the district walking around with small portable radios so they can tune into the community radio wherever they are,” says Erive Community Radio Coordinator Carlota Nhaca. “The community members participate actively in the interviews, the discussions and the conception of radio programmes. After all, the radio belongs to the community.”
Erive Community Radio was built in Maganja da Costa as part of the Child-Friendly Schools initiative, with UNICEF’s support and in partnership with Mozambique’s Social Communication Institute.
To expand its reach, the station transmits in Portuguese as well as two local languages, Lómuè and Nharinga.
To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to listen and participate, a group from the studio regularly visits schools and surrounding communities with a portable radio receiver. When the programme ends, a discussion takes place on the theme they have just heard.
“Collective listening aims to reach those who don’t have a radio at home, enabling them to listen to our programmes too,” explains Ms. Nhaca.
Joanna Nicholas contributed to this story.