WOMEN Affairs, Gender and Community Development minister Nyasha Chikwinya says she is lobbying independent development partners to set up community radio stations with the exclusive mandate to address various women’s issues.
BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
Speaking on the sidelines of a women’s leadership sensitisation meeting in Mutare yesterday, Chikwinya said the proposed community radio stations would act as a bridge between locals and various government departments, helping to raise awareness of issues like education, health, agriculture, justice and the environment.
“The community radios will try to make women aware of their rights so that they speak up. They will have a platform, where they can put forward their grievances and, in turn, be educated on important issues,” she said.
Chikwinya emphasised that women in communities, for too long, have been excluded from decision-making platforms in their societies.
“So radio will let women’s voices be heard. Community radio empowers and mobilises women and is the key to positive social change. Examples come from all over the world. The radio has influenced individuals and groups to successfully pressure governments make policy changes regarding unprotected poor people,” she said.
“It will help them get actively involved and ask questions. This engagement is empowering them to fight for their rights, raise their voices and educate themselves.”
The minister added that various radio programmes would promote democracy, human rights, tolerance and acceptance through news programmes, discussions of current events and human rights issues and entertainment.
Chikwinya said her first port of call would be setting up Jindwi Community Radio Station in her Mutare South Constituency.
“I am planning to first establish Jindwi Community Radio Station in my constituency. People can make recommendations so as to influence better health, hygiene and agricultural practices among other things,” she explained.
Chikwinya said the community radio stations would bring about empowerment by educating women on their domestic and public rights and encouraging communities to be more open about HIV and Aids.
President Robert Mugabe signed into law a new Constitution in 2013 that compels the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe to allow community radio stations to access the FM radio dial, but not a single community radio station has been licensed to date.