Fill the digital gap between the sexes in Bukavu thanks to the Fair Mama Radio initiative

By Bernardin Sebahire

ISDR/Bukavu researcher

A study by the Association of Women of the Media, AFEM/ Bukavu on the genre and the media of South Kivu in 2018 reports 14% of women against 86% of men in positions of directors/ radio directors; 15% of women compared to 85% men in radio programs. Thus, on the quantitative and qualitative level, the presence and positioning of women and men are clearly unbalanced. The influence of women on the media being so low due to their low positioning, questions of interest for women are relegated to the background.

On the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day, celebrated every March 8, AFEM organized during this month of 2022, the dissemination of programs highlighting the contribution of women in the economic fields and the roles that women in media must play in the attenuation of climate change by fighting deforestation. With the national theme retained: “Promote the empowerment of women and girls as well as gender equality in the context of fighting climate change and reductions in disaster risks”. AFEM organized with the technical support of Internews la Foire des femmes in Bukavu, an opportunity for women in media to present their various productions and to exchange with women working in entrepreneurship and the economic raising of women. As such, the media and women working in the media are playing an essential role in raising awareness and understanding of the impacts of climate change by the population.

The professional career of Nenette Kanyegere, technician journalist at Mama Radio caught our attention: “I am a journalist by training. I studied at the University of Peace Center in Bukavu and I started as a reporter at Radio Neno la Uzima. In 2016, I joined Mama Radio as an intern with the technique and now I work as a technician. Every day, I do modulation, wave, realization, antenna control. The management consists in checking the entire program taken up on the grid. Previously, it was difficult for me to adapt to the technique because I thought it was only the work of men, but I started to work and follow the advice of my employees: be strong, you will get there… And now I’m there! Really, I feel comfortable in the technical field. I feel free. I work with men and I am able to achieve all that men are able to do. It is obvious that there is no shortage of difficulties…. Sometimes I record technical breakdowns and find myself limited, if I cannot fix it myself, I call the technical chief for support. The other difficulty is in relation with the working hours. Sometimes I come home late at night and those around me call me a whore. The opinion considers that the journalist does not get married… but the rest is fine! As a message in this month of March, I invite the girls to come to my school, I will teach them the profession. That they can conquer their fears so they can succeed like me.” Let us conclude our reflection by paraphrasing Yordanos Genanaw (Ethiopia), the best way to help empower women and girls is to make education and technology more accessible. Without access to technologies and skills, girls will have fewer employment possibilities and will face various obstacles in the future, especially because of the fact that digital skills have become so necessary and that they will be essential as of the pandemic of Covid-19” she says.