“Women Let’s Talk”: AfDB launches national radio program dedicated to women’s empowerment in Liberia

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The Resident Representative of the African Development Bank Group in Liberia, Margaret Kilo, launched a national radio broadcasting program dedicated to women’s empowerment as an early celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls and the 16 Days of Activism, which kicked off on Wednesday, November 25. The official ceremony was hosted by Liberian Vice-President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai, on Tuesday, November 24, in partnership with other development institutions such as UN Women in Liberia.

The creation of a radio program dedicated to women’s empowerment in Liberia – Women Let’s Talk – was born out of the observations made by a group of international women serving in Liberia. There is a generational gap among Liberian women – older women tend to be extremely well-educated and accomplished, as professors, judges and lawyers, doctors, engineers, and have risen through the ranks in almost every sector of society (as religious leaders, in public service, commerce and industry and finance). Whereas younger women seem to face more difficulties in reaching those level of success.

This program looks at how these women became so accomplished and how can they contribute to empowering younger women to also reach similarly remarkable achievements.

In her opening address, Margaret Kilo, AfDB Resident Representative, explained that, “Liberia was the first country to vanquish Ebola, and one of the reasons was because the media, especially radio, continuously sent out messages sensitizing the population about the virus. Everyone, even the illiterate, can be reached by radio throughout the country. Through this radio program, the phenomenal women of Liberia will be able to share their stories. Their stories will be told to other aspiring women, who can learn from their role models.”

Kilo added: “Women share the same aspirations as men for their country – to work hard, be disciplined and focused, and achieve success in whatever enterprise they choose—and to do so in security and safety, free of fear of rape and gender-based violence.”

The first broadcast aired on November 25 on ELBC, the Liberia Broadcasting Corporation network, and is planned for every Wednesday thereafter, from 10:30 to 11:30 am. The broadcast will be repeated on Saturdays, from 3-4 p.m. The show will initially be relayed by 15 radio stations around the country, and by next year will target 30 radio stations. Matenneh Rose Dunbar is the presenter.

Each broadcast is organized around 15 minutes of drama on a different topic each week, followed by 45 minutes of a phone-in talk show. The first show is Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) – in line with the theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on November 25, 2015 and the 16 Days of Activism, which conclude on December 10, Human Rights Day.