Husna is a 13 year old standard seven students from Boza village in Pangani/Tanga. She is one of thousands of children in Tanzania who were forced to stay at home since March 17, 2020 when schools were closed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. But Husna, her classmates, and many other primary and secondary school students in Pangani District were lucky. They could continue with their classes at home just by pressing the “on” button of a small radio receiver.
Every morning from Monday to Friday they ‘went to school’ by tuning into Redio Darasa. This is a special interactive radio program produced by Pangani FM in collaboration with Pangani District Education Department and teachers from Pangani schools. Teachers teach their students live on air and students ask them questions by calling the radio station.
Redio Darasa has become very popular among students and their parents many of who supported their children by sparing them from domestic work so that they could focus on their radio lessons. Bi. Jamila, Husna’s mother even bought her daughter a special exercise book for her Redio Darasa notes.
“It is almost as if I am sitting in the classroom and I understand, “ Husna said. “I wish that Redio Darasa could continue even after Corona.”
People from all over Pangani District flocked to Mwera village on November 25th to participate in the 2019 launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. They turned this year’s theme: “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” into a colorful event that showed how Pangani Women and Girls experienced rape, sexual violence and abuse.
For the first time Ruth Elia, a Massai woman leader from Mikinguni, stood before the crowd and spoke with great courage about the excessive beating of her fellow women by the men in her village.
Masai Woman Leader Ruth Elia
After participating in the UZIKWASA reflective leadership training, Ruth shared that she felt confident enough to do something about this. She approached male Massai leaders to work with men and she herself worked with the women in her village. Impressive when Lazaro, one of the Mikinguni Elders rose from his seat to confirm what Ruth had just said. He appreciated that Ruth was able to convince a number of men that there is a need to change so that they started listening to women and let them participate in making decisions at home and in village matters. According to Mzee Lazaro, the communication between men and women in Mikinguni indeed did improve remarkably, resulting in visible reduction of gender violence cases.
Several theater performances showed typical stories of gender violence, intimate partner violence, child abuse and rape in the community and how leaders, police and members of the community increasingly work together to bring cases to justice. The need for strong collaboration among all stakeholders was also the key message of the Mwera Magistrate’s speech who was the guest of honor. UZIKWASA’s radio Pangani FM live broadcasted the whole event so that the rest of Pangani residents could be part of it.
On Saturday 15th 2019 UZIKWASA, in collaboration with Pangani District Authorities, awarded the top ten best performing villages in Pangani for their efforts to fight violence against women and children. Almost thousand community members and their leaders attended the colorful event to learn from the winning villages who shared their stories about what they did to fight gender violence and child abuse during the past year. On the same day UZIKWASA launched its new communication campaign with the slogan KUMBE! This concerns me, it concerns all of us!” alongside its KUMBE TV and Radio spots. A highlight of the day was a speech delivered by Aisha Ally on behalf of Pangani’s children. In anticipation of the International Day of the African Child on June 16thAisha appealed to the authorities to take firm action against perpetrators of sexual abuse of children which destroys the dreams of so many girls.
“We children have a lot of dreams and the government is our last hope after our parents, guardians and the community have let us down. We want the community to know that children are being raped and sodomized by grown ups and this is a huge problem. We urge you to protect us and support us so we can realize our goals in life”.
Pangani District authorities in collaboration with UZIKWASA took the opportunity to officially launch the implementation of the National Plan of Action (NPA) to end Violence against Women and Children in Pangani District. For the past two months, local communities have already been engaged in a dialogue about NPA by the UZIKWASA owned radio station 107.7 Pangani FM and through its live radio streaming, Pangani FM Facebook, and its Blog.
The book was born out of the idea to provide an in-depth understanding of UZIKWASA’s social change intervention approaches to end gender violence and violence against children in Pangani District. It is the product of an intense five days reflection workshop with UZIKWASA team members towards planning a structured process for taking UZIKWASA social change approaches to scale. The purpose was to surface essential elements of our holistic gender and transformative leadership program and of UZIKWASA’s organizational culture and values that contributed to social transformation in Pangani District. Get the book
UZIKWASA has recently entered a new partnership with WOLEA and Tree of Hope, both well established organizations known for their committed work in gender justice and women empowerment in Tanga region. The aim was to take first steps towards inspiring a movement for transformation around gender justice in our region through training approaches that go beyond provision of factual knowledge. In a joint three days start-up workshop staff, management and board members of WOLEA and Tree of Hope had the opportunity to experience the power of reflective training approaches in person. They were touched by their new learning and by the various reflective processes they engaged in: self-reflection for facilitators of change, breaking power structures and listening at three levels. One of the participating board members shared his feelings:
“ This day is very special day in my life and I have written a new diary for my leadership practices… I never ever had an important meeting like this one before, where we put our titles aside and mix with staff, management, and executives. This helped me to be free and feel comfortable to share and learn”.
As UZIKWASA we cant wait to see how our esteemed partners will work with their new learning within their organizations and in their own specific program context.
The Yearbook on Media Quality in Tanzania 2018 assessed a sample of 25 media outlets in the country for quality performance. Criteria included professionalism (multiple sourcing, identifying topics beyond the official agenda), comprehensiveness (various perspectives, addressing root causes of problems, multiple opinions and viewpoints), understandability for audience and ethics. One of the most salient study results is that local radio stations performed better than national radios. Our community radio Pangani FM confirms this. Overall it ranked 8th among the 25 media institutions in the study. Read full report