Raising women's voices in Somalia through community media
The media in Somalia has grown despite the chaos that ensued after the fall of the military government of General Siad Bare. In Mogadishu alone, there are over 10 independent radio stations, more than 20 privately-owned newspapers and more than 30 Somali websites on the internet, but all of these media outlets are directed by men who also occupy positions of authority. Women neither sit at the decision-making organs of these media institutions nor work as managing directors, editors and owners. Women journalists do not receive the same opportunities as their male counterparts in terms of training and career advancement. Gender inequalities are evident in Somali media ownership, patterns of decision-making in media houses and in media content. Scant attention is paid to gender issues by decision-makers in media, as evidenced by the lack of programming concerned with gender. In Somalia, most of the women's programmes aired on radio stations cover issues such as beauty, personal health and family, in-trend fashion, etc, but not issues such as rights and liberties, problems and solutions for women or women’s perspectives on arising social problems.
In order to address this problem, this project will establish and make operational a sustainable community radio, managed and operated by women, serving 1 million women in Mogadishu and Afgoi corridor, and designed to contribute to the elimination of gender discrimination in the media and low quality media reporting on women’s issues in Somalia. WARDA’s community radio station, MARWO FM will provide women with access to practical information on relevant day-to-day issues. It will also produce programmes on specific gender-related topics such as women’s political rights, gender relations, social realities, violence against women, HIV-AIDS, and news about women from around the world. The community radio will give a platform to women whose voices are still not heard. The proposed community radio will be located at a safe building near Mogadishu Airport which is under the control of the TFG/AMISOM authorities. This area of the city is very peaceful and has not been affected by the conflict in Mogadishu.