By Christine Alfons,
Christine Alfons is an anti-FGM campaigner who is passionate about ending gender-based violence and in particular FGM. Through radio talk shows she is offering callers a chance to understand their rights and where they can go for help.
Our Media Campaign to End FGM
On International Women’s day, 8th March 2021, the Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Policy was launched in Migori County. This is to articulate the county’s strategy and priorities in addressing all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
The activity during the Easter holiday was aimed at the dissemination of information about the policy and how it is going to be implemented. The radio talk show took place on 23rd April 2021, it involved Agnes Bange who is a Gender officer from the office of the Director of Gender, county office.
Agnes talked about the issues highlighted in the policy ie FGM, Child marriages, defilement, Marital rape, etc, and how such issues can be reported and dealt with.
The policy came up at the right time when cases of SGBV are on the rise in the county and thus, ensuring the county gives such issues a priority.Agnes Bange
She also shared the toll-free numbers for adolescent girls to seek help and guidance on SRH matter and for reporting SGBV cases so that the survivors can get urgent help wherever they need such.
Togotane Radio has a reach of over 800,000 listeners during the talk show, the listeners were allowed to call in and contribute and ask questions.
8 listeners called in and 3 of them were explaining how difficult is it for girls to receive help when they are defiled since many parents do not want to report such cases and some end up solving such issues at home with kangaroo courts which sometimes resolve to marry the girl to her defiler if she becomes pregnant. Two of the callers said how perpetrators of FGM cases go unprosecuted and asked what the gender desk should do about that as far as the policy is concerned.
There was also a question of if a woman reports her husband of rape after the case where will the wife go back to, to her house with the same husband or will have to find another place since it is said her husband will be very violent for reporting him about marital rape and how can such women be protected.
Agnes was able to respond to the questions and concerns according to how it is articulated in the policy and shared that, they hope to work on tabling the amendment of the Anti-FGM law on how to go about prosecution when there are no witnesses but the girl is cut since there are some loopholes.
The callers were able to relate the session (talk-show topic) with what is happening in their communities, as they were calling to ask about issues that are relevant to the ones outlined in the policy. They were also highlighting weaknesses that they are seeing as far as the implementation of the policy is concerned and we hope the county government will be able to take up those issues.
The activity was planned to take place through a series of at least 2 talk shows but the radio station had increased their rates a week to the event there being new management, so we opted for only 1 talk show of 1 hour.
We hoped to have the County commissioner and the Director of Gender Migori County on air to discuss the policy but unfortunately, they kept postponing the activity due to their availability and we ended up having it anyway with the gender officer who represented the Director of Gender but we did not manage to engage the office of the County Commissioner.
Recommendations/ How I would do it differently
Next time I should try to get a quotation from the radio station before planning for an activity to reduce the chances of landing at the increased rates.
When I am engaging some really and influential/ opinion leaders, I should adjust enough to work with their earliest available time. I could also consider doing call-ins if they are not available to physically visit the radio station.
In the near future, I plan to do a Forum where we will invite 2 people from the office of the county commissioner and the Director Gender to speak to the parents in our program about the policy.