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Women's Leadership

“Women have something to say...” Fatou Dieng Fall, Guindiku FM radio host.

woman interviewing
A woman reporter from the community of Khaye interviews the head of the center for local development in Thianaba.

Despite national policies endorsing gender equity in national and local governing bodies, women in Senegal continue to represent the minority of those in decision-making positions. At the community level, women make up a small percentage of those serving on bodies such as rural councils, Parent-Teacher Associations, or in community-based organizations. A number of reasons are to blame this low level of participation by women, including a lack of information on how to participate in local decision-making bodies, cultural norms that traditionally exclude women from positions of authority, and stereotypes concerning the ability of women to be effective leaders.

The USAID-funded Women’s Leadership and Civic Leadership and Journalism program is designed address these issues by strengthening the presence and voice of women in radio and building women’s leadership at the community level. The two-year program completed its first year and has already seen encouraging results.

World Education trained woman reporter broadcasting on Guindiku FM
Guindiku FM director of programming broadcasting live from the studio.

The program is carried out in close collaboration with World Education’s local partner ARLS, and community radio station Guindiku FM. This once struggling media outlet, initiated by ARLS, has been completely revitalized with improved equipment allowing a greater coverage zone, strengthened radio management skills and improved technical, financial, and administrative capacity. To accompany the improved functioning of the station, the program trained 60 women reporters who work with Guindiku FM to produce stories on development issues in their surrounding communities. Each woman also leads a community-based listening group in her village. These listening groups, composed of 15 women and 5 men, discuss topics addressed by the radio and lead initiatives to tackle the problems faced by their communities.

As part of this program, World Education produces a series of training modules designed to increase the technical capacity of radio staff and the awareness of radio staff and women reporters on development issues that affect women and their communities. These modules cover:

 

 

  • Radio techniques
  • Different radio formats (interviewing, reporting, magazines, interactive programs)
  • Leadership and management
  • Communication and development
  • Gender, decentralization, political processes, and development
  • Gender, access to land, credit, decision-making positions
  • Gender and project development (income-generating activities)

Although the program is still in its early phase, a number of initial successes are being documented. These stories of change include:

  • Increase vaccination rates attributed to an awareness campaign supported by local health clinics.
  • Increased interest on the part of women to participate in local government after learning how they can be candidates for local council elections.
  • Improved local service delivery from the electric company.
  • Greater participation by women in Parent-Teacher Associations.
  • Women accessing local decision-making bodies such as community water management committees.

News from the Field

Learn more about World Education's work to empower women journalists and strengthen local media in Senegal and around Africa.

 

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