20 Jan 2019
Nangarhar local media bolstering the rights of women, say community members
JALALABAD - Thousands of people across the eastern region have learned about gender violence and women’s rights through a series of radio and television awareness programmes supported by the UNAMA in 2018.
Using engaging broadcasts, local media have helped raise public awareness and mobilize communities in support of women’s rights and the fight against gender violence.
For Jalalabad’s Sharq TV, the impact was not only felt by communities but they changed the station’s relationship with its audiences.
“Women’s rights programmes have helped us to become very popular,” said Shafiqullah Shaiq, founder and head of Sharq TV. “Women in the region are happy with these programmes - we have received lots of calls to increase the number,” said Shaiq.
Throughout 2018, Sharq TV and other local media partners produced, broadcast and re-broadcast feature programmes and roundtable discussions on the negative impact of violence against women and the role that community members can play to protect rights of women. Panelists representing provincial authorities, women organizations, civil society, religious scholars and community leaders participated in several broadcasts highlighting the rights of women, as well as national laws to combat harassment and violence against women.
In an interview with UNAMA, the Nangarhar head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Sabrina Hamidi, said the programmes are having a positive impact. “Most of the victims coming to the AIHRC office heard of their rights through radio or TV, and many of them, for their first time,” said Hamidi.
And it It’s not just the women who are taking action.
Karimullah Karim, a student at Laghman University, is using his social media savvy to amplify the rights of women and engage his peers.
“I use social media also, and now I am regularly posting material to support and raise awareness on women’s rights and to encourage others to do the same,” he said.
Women in the eastern region, like in many parts of the country, face different forms of violence. Multiple factors, including poverty, illiteracy, harmful traditional practices and violent extremism make women, especially those in remote provinces, susceptible to violence and abuse. Afghanistan has made strides in addressing women’s rights with legislation such as the EVAW law and the National Action Plan, but a lot remains to be achieved.
UNAMA works with various institutions including religious leaders, provincial councils, community leaders, youth groups, women and local media stations to create platforms using radio, social media and television to promote the rights of women and girls.
In Hisarak, a remote district in Nangarhar, the radio programmes have been both popular and impactful says Muhamad Naim Wolar, a community elder there. “In the past, our families provided education only for the boys, but now, families are also giving education to girls,” added Wolar.
UNAMA’s Jalalabad regional office in partnership with local radio partners Sharq TV, Zala TV, Safa radio, Zala radio, Spinghar radio, Raghun radio and Alina radio reached an estimated 3 million people in 2018 across five provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan.
“When I listened to the programmes, it gave me hope that one day women will not be victims of violence, said Zarghuna, a resident of Kunar.