UN Women Malawi has engaged community radios in the country in a campaign to promote female aspirants through radio messages and radio talk shows.
Speaking in an interview, Communications Officer for UN Women Malawi Faith Mvula said Journalists from the community media houses have already been trained in ethical reporting on political empowerment of women and are part of the Journalists for Gender Equality Network, a forum which aims at promoting women’s political empowerment across Malawi and harmonizing media reporting in this area.
Mvula said through these radio talk shows, women who are vying for the post of councilor and Member of Parliament will be given a public forum to highlight their plans.
According to Mvula, UN Women is engaging community radios because most female aspirants in rural areas lack coverage by top media outlets, which make it difficult for them to gain public exposure and support.
The fact that other community radios air programs in native languages used in the area is a plus to this campaign since they will be able to reach out to both the literate and illiterate. This is of outmost importance for the content to be understood by the residents in the area for them to participate in discussions, added Mvula.
Apart from training journalists from community media houses, UN Women team also conducted interface meeting with female aspirants, journalists and radio listening clubs in selected districts to map ways on how radio stations could sensitize the public and engage them in political empowerment of women.
One of the approached aspirants in the campaign Lignet Thupilifana, who want to contest as a councillor in Chikonde ward in Neno, said the initiative will help her to be visible so that she can raise her issues and be heard.
Thupilifana said unlike political parties where mostly they are only given a minute to wave to the public, the radio shows will give them enough time to engage with the public.
I will utilize this opportunity to sell my candidature to people in my area. Some of us cannot afford to hold big rallies because nowadays even chiefs demand allowances to attend your meetings because they are bribed with cheap gifts, said Thupilifana.