Day 15 of #16DaysofActivism
By Stephanie Mooney
The Amplifying Voices Project was set up in 2015 as a collaborative venture between Feba UK, HCR and the Believers Broadcasting Network (BBN), a Christian radio station in Freetown. BBN forms multi-stakeholder teams with partners including churches and local health clinics to visit people in their households and local communities and listen deeply to their stories, challenges, hopes and concerns.
These conversations with people feed directly back into radio programmes developed and broadcast by BBN. There is a twice-weekly show called Amplify that uses and responds to community voices and there is also a monthly radio drama produced to deal with sensitive issues identified such as sexual violence, rape, teenage pregnancy and ‘sugar daddy’ relationships.
Listeners and those involved in the visits see themselves as agents of change. The conversations shared and issues raised in the radio broadcasts are leading the community to take practical action to protect women and girls.
Scarcity of water and the vulnerability of girls collecting water were identified as major concerns, as men targeted girls and this was linked to high levels of teenage pregnancy. Djibrillah, a team member, said: ‘Girls used to go to the streams to collect water. Water Tanks were installed so now this has reduced the need to fetch water and this has reduced teenage pregnancy.’ In another community they put in streetlights to improve the security for women and girls.
The project is also helping women and girls in relation to education and employment. A radio journalist and counsellor involved in the project said the following about *‘Patience’, a regular listener to the Amplify programme: ‘She was a lady who thought everything was lost and was intimidated by education. Now she is very engaged. We encourage them and let them know they have something inside of them. All is not lost. She is about to complete her education.’
By working with the community to improve the safety and security of women and girls and to encourage them into education and employment, this work is having a transformative impact on the lives of people in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
*Not her real name