Senegal’s females-flee radio stations broadcast for peace

Senegal’s females-flee radio stations broadcast for peace


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Ziguinchor, Senegal – On a hot, steamy day in Ziguinchor, a small coastal city in Senegal’s southern Casamance place, 31-year-common Marie Leocadie Coly walks right into a recording studio, activates the fan and locations on her headphones.

At the ticket of the producer sitting in the support of the glass window, Coly begins to talk into the microphone.

“Welcome to Radio Kassumay, the radio of Ladies folks for Peace and Notify of the Casamance,” Coly says cheerfully as she begins her stay, one-hour broadcast.

Coly is and not utilizing a doubt one of the significant fifty two female reporters who make up the Community of Neighborhood Radios for Peace and Notify in Casamance, a neighborhood of 18 radio stations flee entirely by females that span across Senegal’s southern place, which home to and not utilizing a doubt one of Africa’s oldest separatist movements.

Due to the appearance of the first effect in 2004, the announces possess change into a if reality be told significant platform for the promotion of peace in the country.

“The radio [stations] possess played a key role in breaking the verbal exchange barrier between opposing facets in the Casamance battle,” says Abdou Sarr, director of World Education, a non-profit organisation that funds several peacemaking programmes in Senegal, along with the radio community says.

“But our purpose is also to advise and empower females, who play a key role in the peacemaking process,” Sarr adds.

Three-decade long battle

Casamance is separated from the comfort of Senegal by The Gambia. Ethnic and spiritual differences between the 2 regions, as properly as a sense of economic and political marginalisation from the comfort of the country ended in the upward push of an independence motion in Casamance in 1982. 

Thousands of of us possess been killed in the larger than three-decade long battle and tens of 1000’s possess been displaced, in accordance to the UN.

Whereas the Circulation of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) and the Senegalese military declared a unilateral ceasefire in 2014, violent clashes possess persisted to take effect currently.

Within the recording studio, a ceiling-excessive board displays Radio Kassumay’s weekly programming. Warfare and execrable-border concerns, faith, young of us’s rights, females’s rights, and incapacity are a couple of of the segments featured.

Intercalated between these are blocks of music that gains a large fluctuate of genres from local music and chorus singing to American hip hop.

The females broadcast their message in larger than 15 languages across the country [Lucia He/Al Jazeera]

The radio exhibits, that are recorded in 17 a amount of local languages, behold to advertise dialogue among a amount of communities in the country to foster a sense of unity.

“Folks right here [in Casamance] maintain that they produce no longer appear to be if reality be told an part of Senegal,” says Aminata Mane, a females’s rights activist and reporter at Radio Kassumay.

“This radio is a instrument for all of Senegal’s population to keep in touch, whether or no longer you is probably going to be Wolof or Jola. We desire to present a ground to the authorities and the total population to commerce opinions, so as that each person understands what others are announcing,” Mane adds.

Feature of females

One in all the first solutions of the radio stations has been to take back of a cultural custom authentic to the Casamance place: the historical role females possess played in battle prevention and decision in Jola communities.

Whereas easiest four percent of the population in Senegal is Jola, it is the predominant ethnic neighborhood in Casamance. The Jola primarily practise veteran beliefs.

“Whereas females are usually highly respected in Wolof and a amount of Senegalese and African traditions, it is a ways no longer documented that they play a prime role in occasions of battle in any of these traditions,” says Ousmane Sene, director of the West African Study Center.

“But among Jola of us, females are known to be peacemakers,” Sene adds. “If there’s a dispute in their villages, they’ll threaten to undo their loincloths till the dispute is settled. Many females are also believed to be endowed with special spiritual powers.”

Beyond radio

Moreover the employ of their voices to advertise dialogue, females in the place possess been leading a amount of on-the-ground initiatives to make certain long-interval of time peace and stability in the place. 

The Platform of Ladies folks for Peace in Casamance is an umbrella organisation that brings together the work of a hundred and seventy member associations and over 2,500 females across Casamance.

In Ziguinchor, the platform runs several rehabilitation centres that provide health and psychological toughen to victims of the battle who continuously face rape, gender violence, amputation from landmines, and displacement.

“On every occasion there is a battle, a girl’s physique becomes the battlefield,” Ndeye Marie Diedhiou, coordinator of the platform, says. “We tackle these victims and impart them and a amount of females in verbal exchange and negotiation skills, so they’ll mosey support to their communities and elevate consciousness in regards to the implications of the battle.”

Kabonketoor, yet any other organisation that is allotment of the platform, has place in effect programmes in over 30 villages to empower females economically and politically. They impart females in actions reminiscent of cattle breeding and palm tree harvesting, and succor females to take part in their local governments.

Financial sustainability

Aid at the radio effect in Ziguinchor, Coly and Mane be part of their colleagues in the building’s patio jam, the place several females are cracking cashews and packing them in small plastic baggage.

A small room nearby acts as a store the place the females sell a amount of local products, along with baobab juice, dry fish and spices.

Kassumay Radio, which is entirely flee by volunteers, had been largely financed by the US Agency for Worldwide Notify (USAID) since its founding practically 15 years prior to now.

But absolute most realistic year, the organisation stopped receiving funds from USAID without explanation. 

Since then the females possess taken up cashew-harvesting and created a meals market to support make certain their monetary autonomy.

In spite of the shift in funding, Mane says she is optimistic that the organisation will have the capability to continue to feature through a amount of exchange fundraising actions.

She adds that even even supposing a amount of progress has been made, there is still work to be performed.

“We can’t philosophize that the battle has entirely ended in Casamance, but attributable to females, things possess calmed down,” Mane says.

Reporting for this allotment was once supported by the Worldwide Reporting Mission (IRP).

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