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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

HIV and AIDS, 16 Days of Action, and positive responses to the Ebola outbreak

Welcome to Farm Radio Weekly!

In issue #314, FRW looks at how people living with HIV suffer from stigma in Congo-Brazzaville, the difficulties of getting justice for survivors of gender-based violence in Kenya, and education on the radio for students in two countries involved in the West African Ebola outbreak.

There have been marked improvements in HIV treatment, and legislation has been passed to protect people living with the virus. But many people living with the virus are still exposed to stigma – along with their loved ones. Our story from Congo-Brazzaville investigates one initiative to restore dignity and hope.

It is estimated that one in three women in Kenya will suffer gender-based violence before the age of 18. To compound this tragedy, justice is hard to come by: victims are not getting the help they need from the criminal justice system. Our story looks at some of the issues involved.

Authorities in Sierra Leone and Liberia have closed schools to prevent the further spread of Ebola. But students are still receiving lessons – by radio!

December 1 is celebrated internationally as World AIDS Day. We are dedicating our Resource and Script of the Week sections to providing you with useful information. Please use this content to update your audience’s awareness of HIV and AIDS.

Next week, Farm Radio Weekly will be taking a publishing break. But we’ll be back better than ever! To celebrate FRW’s seventh anniversary, we are improving the accessibility of our website and re-launching it. Find out more in the Action section below.

We wish you a great week! Until next time,

-the Farm Radio Weekly team

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Congo-Brazzaville: Stigma still a barrier for mixed HIV status couples (by Privat Tiburce Massanga, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Fénelon Mboumba sits under a mango tree cradling his newborn baby. He knows all about the stigma faced by those living with HIV. In his home village near Mossendjo in southern Congo-Brazzaville, villagers still struggle to accept those who live with HIV, and even those who live with an HIV-positive partner.

Ibouanga Madeleine is married to Mr. Mboumba. Because she lives with HIV, the couple were forced to relocate to the city of Brazzaville.

Mr. Mboumba says that living with other people’s negative attitudes is often more difficult than dealing with the virus. He adds: “My wife was pregnant and suffering from tuberculosis. We already had two kids. My friends and family pushed me to separate [from her] because she presented clinical signs of HIV.”

Although criticized, mocked and publicly humiliated, Mr. Mboumba insists he would never leave his wife because of her HIV status. The couple abandoned their cassava fields and moved to the city to escape villagers’ ridicule.

Tears stream from Mr. Mboumba’s eyes as he says, “I doubted [our HIV statuses until] the day when we came to Brazzaville to take the tests. The tests showed that I was negative but my wife was positive.”

After a short silence, he gives a wry smile and adds: “The relatives who had hosted us [in the city] no longer wanted us in their home. We spent two weeks sleeping under the stars, not knowing where to go. It was very difficult until someone told us about the Association Femmes Solidaires. [The association] took us in and helped us.”

The association encouraged Mrs. Ibouanga to start anti-retroviral medication, or ARVs. Three months later, her baby was born healthy – she had not passed the virus on to the child.

Sweeping the porch of their new home, Mrs. Ibouanga praises the association. She says: “I cannot thank the association enough. It renewed my taste for life. This trial has shown me how my husband supports me and how great is the ignorance about this disease. I suffered more from other people’s discrimination and mockery than I do from the virus that is eating away at me.”

Emma Tsoulou is the executive director of the Association Femmes Solidaires. The association gives moral support to women facing stigma because they are living with HIV. It also provides social assistance by taking the women in and feeding them.

Mrs. Tsoulou explains the association’s mission, saying: “When these women arrive, it is up to us to explain to them why they have experienced [stigma] either in their neighbourhoods, or from their extended families, or at home. We bring women together to talk; we create a space where women who have suffered similar problems can comfort newcomers.”

Each woman has different needs. Sometimes the association simply provides shelter. It may also offer financial support so a woman can buy food or even start a small business.

Mrs. Ibouanga is grateful for the association’s help. She is also convinced of the benefits of HIV testing, and of anti-retroviral treatment. She says: “I must [now] be a spokeswoman for the fight against HIV and AIDS. Since I stated ARVs, I have put on weight. I must follow doctors’ advice in order not to have a relapse. I was told that I could return to my village if I come back to the city every three months to stock up on drugs. I want to recover my children, and my fields.”

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Kenya: Lack of justice for victims of sexual violence (Trust)

Ms. Ayaimba could not believe it. A man walked into her office and demanded that his daughter be returned to him. He had been arrested just two days previously for raping the three-year-old girl.

Ms. Ayaimba is a local government official in an impoverished Nairobi neighbourhood. According to medical reports, the three-year-old girl had a torn hymen, bite marks, bruising and cuts. But the police officer who had released the man and accompanied him to Ms. Ayaimba’s office insisted that the girl be returned to her father.

Ms. Ayaimba says, “How could I give the child back to the father who was raping the child day and night?” She adds, “An uncle of this man, who is a very senior government officer, came to me and told me: ‘If you don’t produce the child and drop this case, I will make sure that you are fired.’”

Government figures show that one in three Kenyan girls experience sexual violence before the age of 18. But, according to campaigners, many survivors of sexual violence in Kenya are denied justice as a result of an “epidemic” of corruption and intimidation.

Doctors, lawyers, police officers and community workers at a recent Nairobi seminar on sexual violence charged that the criminal justice system functions poorly.

Suspects try to bribe and threaten police, judges and survivors. Public ignorance, stigma and poverty are additional challenges. Poor families often bow to pressure to drop the case in return for a few banknotes.

One police officer says: “I have been threatened on several occasions. I have had some cases where the complainant disappeared mysteriously. [Two complainants] have been killed.” Kenya’s police investigators are overworked. Morale is low, and they lack the training and proper equipment required to collect and safely store evidence.

Edigah Kavulavu is a lawyer with the Kenyan section of the International Commission of Jurists. He says: “People are not well informed about preservation of evidence. Also, [with] the taboo associated with rape, [many victims] will go and take a bath and … [thereby] destroy the evidence.” A forensics expert adds that sometimes crimes can only be solved by trying to match the DNA of a baby born to a victim of rape with DNA from the rapist.

Most victims of sexual violence are children, and most of the perpetrators are people they know. One doctor treated two sisters, aged six and seven, after they were raped. The doctor says: “[The perpetrator] paid a goat to the father and the case went away. Justice is never found, people are not prosecuted and the perpetrator is likely to repeat the same offence.” The doctor adds, “Some of [the survivors] are just afraid of going to the police. The family should be assisted to go to court and get the perpetrators prosecuted.”

But it is not easy to get justice, even for the courageous. Cases can drag on for years and survivors and witnesses run out of time, money and stamina. Prosecutors find it difficult to connect the survivors’ stories with poorly gathered evidence, or link the suspect with the assault.

A lawyer says that if the crime was badly investigated, and the evidence collected incorrectly, it is difficult to secure a conviction.

Ms. Ayaimba refused to hand the three-year-old rape victim back to her father. Two years later, the girl is safe and the case is in the courts.

Editors’ note: Ms. Ayaimba did not supply her full name to the investigating journalist.

To read the full article on which this story was based, What price the rape of a child? In Kenya, impunity can be bought with a goat, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20141111115659-zgoko

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Sierra Leone and Liberia: Radio stations broadcast school lessons

Authorities have closed schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone because of the Ebola outbreak. There is no immediate prospect of reopening classrooms, so a growing number of students are receiving their lessons on the radio.

Tuan Tarper is a teacher in Monrovia. He says, “If a child stops learning for too long, you will see that child begin to decline.”

Maxim Blateen is the director of communications for Liberia’s Ministry of Education. He says: “In the midst of Ebola, the Ministry of Education has embarked on this program because we want our children to be engaged academically … we wanted to bring them something to keep them learning.”

Dozens of local FM stations are broadcasting 30-minute lessons at least twice a day. The broadcasts are aimed at children aged six and older. More than one million people in Liberia have tuned in since the programs first aired in mid-September.

In Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is partnering with aid agencies to target more than one and a half million schoolchildren. Forty-one stations broadcast four one-hour lessons daily.

Many lessons are purely academic. But others focus on health and hygiene to help stop the spread of Ebola. Each lesson is followed by an assignment.

Many children appreciate and enjoy the radio lessons, but most say it is not the same as going to school.

Hannah Bangure is an 11-year-old student at Services Primary School in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She misses spending time with her teacher and getting help on assignments. Ms. Bangure says, “For me, the lessons … on the radio are basic … but [they are] helping me to stay in touch with my education, rather than just playing all the time.”

Thirteen-year-old Mary Cole is a student at the Paynesville Kindergarten School in Liberia. She says, “It isn’t easy. This is radio, so you have to listen attentively to what they are saying. But we are getting it gradually.”

Education officials are aware that radio lessons are not a perfect solution, but they say they are doing the best they can, and adjusting as they go.

Mr. Blateen says radio lessons are currently the only way to help children remember the things they have already learned. He encourages children to listen to the radio, and think about and learn from the lessons.

He also wants teachers to help raise awareness of Ebola. He says: “They need to engage themselves and work with the community to fight this deadly Ebola, because that is the only way we will resume our activities and reopen schools.”

Mary Cole hopes this will happen soon. She says, “The government does not want us to be infected, so the decision [to keep schools closed] is in the right direction. But I am missing school very much. I hope Ebola will go so I can return to school.”

To read the full article on which this story was based, School lessons by radio in Sierra Leone, Liberia, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100838/school-lessons-by-radio-in-sierra-leone-liberia

To hear an audio piece on radio lessons in Sierra Leone, go to: https://soundcloud.com/irinfilms/school-lessons-by-radio-in

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FRW news in brief

1- Botswana: Court ruling allows LGBT rights group to register organization

In a groundbreaking decision, the Botswana High Court recently ruled that members of a rights group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT persons can formally register their organization.

According to Monica Tabengwa of Human Rights Watch, “The court’s ruling is a significant victory for the LGBT community, not only in Botswana but elsewhere in Africa where LGBT groups have faced similar obstacles to registration.”

In upholding the application, Justice Terence Rannowane of the Botswana High Court ruled that, although same-sex sexual relations are illegal in Botswana, freedom of association, assembly, and expression are important societal values. He added, “Enjoyment of such rights can only be limited where such limitation is reasonably justifiable in a democracy.”

To read the full article, go to: https://www.ifex.org/botswana/2014/11/14/basic_freedoms/

2- West Africa: One in seven women at risk of dying in childbirth in Ebola-hit countries

Women are dying in childbirth at an alarming rate in countries hit by the Ebola epidemic. Aid agencies warn that as many as one in seven are at risk because helpers fear contact with bodily fluids.

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 800,000 women in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia will give birth in the next 12 months. Some 120,000 of these could face life-threatening complications and tens of thousands die, according to a group of 13 leading UK charities, including ActionAid.

Korto Williams is the head of ActionAid in Liberia. He says: “We have to do more to [prevent this]. We have to ensure that pregnant women get the care they need or we will see the rate of maternal deaths skyrocket.”

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20141111000016-1mypz

3- Central African Republic: Crisis leads to ‘information blackout’

The Central African Republic is caught up in the worst humanitarian and political crisis of its history, with almost half its 4.6 million people in need of emergency aid.

The ongoing violence and turmoil in CAR has led to an information blackout. The country has poor mobile phone connectivity and the largely rural population relies heavily on radio. But the national broadcaster has ceased broadcasting and many other radio stations have been looted and shut.

According to Reporters Without Borders, three local journalists have been killed. A recent report by International Media Support found that “Central Africans are living in complete darkness as they have no access to information.”

To read the full article, go to: http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/11/central-african-republic-chaos-and-self-censorship-stalk-nations-journalists/

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Call for applications: African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is accepting applications from women journalists to participate in one of two international reporting fellowships, both tentatively scheduled to take place February 13-23, 2015.

The African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative will provide training and support for in-country women journalists, as well as opportunities for international correspondents to work in regions of East and Central Africa that receive limited media coverage abroad. The fellowships include security training to help journalists stay safe in the field.

As part of the initiative, the IWMF will lead delegations of six journalists each to Rwanda and Uganda to cover under-reported economic and rural development issues.

The first three days of the fellowship include comprehensive security training and briefings by regional experts. Fellows will then participate in one week of independent in-country reporting and group activities, and will have the opportunity to interact with key stakeholders and local journalists.

Woman journalists and freelancers with at least three years of professional experience in print, broadcast, or digital media are eligible to apply for the fellowship. Applicants must be able to demonstrate support from an editor or have a proven track record of publication in prominent media outlets.

Non-native English speakers must have excellent written and verbal English skills in order to fully participate in and benefit from the program.

The IWMF will pay for fellowship-related expenses, including travel, lodging, meals and fixers/interpreters, unless the journalist’s news organization wishes to assume these costs.

For more information, visit the IWMF website at: http://www.iwmf.org/our-impact/african-great-lakes-reporting-initiative/

The application form is available here: http://www.iwmf.org/our-impact/african-great-lakes-reporting-initiative/application/online-application/

The deadline for the first round of applications is December 20, 2014.

If you have any questions about the application process, write to: greatlakes@iwmf.org

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World AIDS Day 2014

World AIDS Day is held annually on December 1. First held in 1988, the day is an opportunity for people to unite locally and globally in the fight against HIV, and to show their support for people living with HIV.

An estimated 34 million people live with HIV globally. More than 35 million have died from diseases related to the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

There have been many scientific advances in HIV treatment over the years. There are now laws to protect people living with HIV, and much more is understood about living with HIV. Yet some people still do not know, or choose to ignore, the facts about how to protect themselves and others from the virus.

Stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day reminds us and our governments that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

On World AIDS Day 2014, the World Health Organization will issue new recommendations to help countries close important gaps in HIV prevention and treatment services.

These guidelines will include advice on providing antiretroviral drugs for people who have been exposed to HIV – such as health workers, sex workers, and survivors of rape. They will also include recommendations on preventing and managing common infections and diseases ― severe bacterial and malaria infections, cryptococcal meningitis, and the many oral and skin infections that can affect people living with HIV.

You can find more information and campaign materials on the WHO website: http://www.who.int/campaigns/aids-day/2014/event/en/

Several resources are available free on the UNAIDS website: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2014

There is a useful fact sheet at this address: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/2014/2014gapreport/factsheet

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A change is coming!!!

Farm Radio Weekly will be taking a publishing break next week because new and exciting website developments are coming your way! We will feature a new look and a new name.

As of December 15, 2014, Farm Radio Weekly will be called …

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If you want to learn more and help us count down to our website launch and new look:

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Also, follow us on Twitter:

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Look out for an email soon with more details about the launch ― and about how you can win a prize by getting your colleagues to follow us on social media!

We can’t wait to unveil all the new changes! The countdown to December 15 is on.

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Community responses to HIV and AIDS

Our script of the week highlights community-based approaches to coping with the impact of HIV and AIDS.

One of the impacts of HIV and AIDS is that uninfected people must shoulder an increased workload. Africans have established a wide range of social support activities to deal with this issue. Sometimes these activities are initiated by the community itself, and sometimes they are started and/or supported by governments, NGOs or religious institutions. The wide range of strategies includes:

  • loans and savings clubs
  • shared child care
  • labour-saving clubs
  • funeral funds/burial societies
  • social support groups
  • community grain banks

Coping strategies that are developed locally are often the most practical and least expensive to implement. Broadcasters have an opportunity to promote and support local coping strategies by featuring them in radio programs.

This script features two hosts discussing a variety of approaches to the labour shortages that often result from HIV and AIDS. Please see the end of the script for descriptions of some of the coping strategies mentioned in the script.

http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-73-hivaids-and-food-security/community-responses-to-hivaids/

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We’re in this together: End violence against women

Thank you for taking the time to open Farm Radio Weekly. We hope that the stories and other resources in issue #313 give you pause for thought. We hope that they will encourage you to raise the subject of violence against women and the right of women to be free from all forms of harassment and fear.

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and Farm Radio Weekly is dedicating this issue to the subject of gender-based violence. We bring you the story of an abused Ugandan widow, raise the issue of women’s right to self-expression, and profile a transsexual from Lesotho who is leading efforts to raise awareness and increase acceptance of those who self-identify differently.

A Ugandan man beat his wife regularly. By the time of his death, the beatings had left her permanently scarred, both mentally and physically. But a neighbour’s kindness has allowed her to farm and provide for her three children. She is nor forging a new life for herself.

Many African men feel they have the right to tell women how they can dress. When men don’t like what they see, they often “slut-shame” women they believe are not dressing modestly. In Nairobi recently, some men went too far. And now the women of the city are fighting back.

It is not just women who are exposed to violence and intolerance. People who choose their sexual partners or their gender identity differently are also targeted. But In Lesotho, a young, articulate transsexual is starting to make a difference!

As usual, FRW brings you resources and events: in this issue they are related to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

Keep broadcasting!

-The Farm Radio Weekly team

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Uganda: Widow recovers from violent marriage (by Geoffrey Ojok, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Tears of anguish roll down Sidonia Akello’s cheeks as she remembers the agonies she suffered during her marriage. But her life is different now that her husband is dead.

In hushed tones, Mrs. Akello sings a Luo funeral song to her one-year-old daughter, who she has rapped securely in a shawl on her back.

The 32-year-old mother of three endured a life of sorrow in her home village, Te-Oburu, about 400 kilometres north of Uganda’s capital city, Kampala.

In June 2013, villagers were stunned by the sight of Mrs. Akello standing before the village court bleeding from a gash on the side of her head. Her husband, Denis Oyar, had demanded she have sex with him. When she refused, he flew into a rage and cut off her ear. She had given birth only two weeks earlier and was still recovering from labour.

Mr. Oyar was often drunk and regularly beat his wife senseless. On the night in question, after beating her, he picked up his machete and cut off her right ear. The two older children ran out into the dark, screaming for someone to come to their mother’s aid.

David Okao is the village chief. He says, “Oyar committed an offence. We punished him and made him provide medical care to his wife.”

Mr. Oyar died six months later. But Mrs. Akello’s misery didn’t end. Her brother-in-law accused her of denying him his inheritance. She was sentenced to 60 lashes, and forced to sell a goat in order to pay a fine of $18 U.S.

But when all seemed lost, fortune smiled on Mrs. Akello. Her neighbour Ismael Omara had noticed the widow’s plight. The 79-year-old stood up in front of the village chief and publicly gave Mrs. Akello half a hectare of land as a permanent gift.

With this small gesture, Mrs. Akello’s life changed for the better. She now grows cassava on the plot of land she received from her neighbour. The widow feeds her children with her harvest, and sells whatever is left over. She explains, “I grow cassava because [of the] high demand in this region. Besides, I don’t need to buy insecticide and weeding expenses are minimal.”

She earned $230 U.S. by selling her last cassava harvest at the market. Mrs. Akello says, “I used the money I got to pay fees for my two [older] children [to go to] primary school. I bought food with the surplus money, and now we are happy.”

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Kenya: Nairobi residents take to the streets after woman is stripped and beaten in public (The Guardian)

Hundreds of women took to the streets of Nairobi to defend their right to wear what they choose after a woman was stripped and beaten for wearing a miniskirt.

The woman was attacked at a busy bus stop in Nairobi’s Central Business District. Dozens of men surrounded the woman, tore off her clothes and forced her to the ground. According to local media, the men said the woman was “indecently dressed,” and accused her of “tempting” them.

A bystander filmed the attack, and video footage of the incident later emerged online. It shows the men calling the woman “Jezebel” as she cries for help. Kenyans have condemned the attack on social media, using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice.

The Facebook group Kilimani Mums organized a “miniskirt protest” in central Nairobi to defend a woman’s right to wear what she chooses.

On the event page, Kilimani Mums wrote: “This morning we as Kilimani Mums met and decided that we shall hold a peaceful procession to Accra Road. This is our chance to stand together as women and deliver a message to our country that sexual violence will not be tolerated.”

Reports say that over 200 people attended the march. But as the protesters walked from Uhuru Park toward the site of the attack, they were confronted by men declaring that they would “continue to strip women who are dressed skimpily.”

Police Chief David Kimaiyo appealed to the victim of the attack to lodge an official complaint so that the police can investigate.

Campaigners say that in Kenya’s conservative society, women’s rights are often abused. Winnie Kabintie is a correspondent for KenyaForum.net. She writes: “It doesn’t matter whether or not the woman was indecently dressed; after all, what’s the benchmark for what is considered decent? Furthermore, how did stripping her bare aid in enhancing her decency?”

The issue of what a woman chooses to wear is not only a Kenyan problem. Ugandan police issued a public warning against “indecently dressed” women in February 2014. The country’s State Minister for Ethics and Integrity proposed a ban on miniskirts. Women mobilized on social media, using the hashtag #SaveTheMiniSkirt. A year earlier, Namibian authorities also attempted to ban miniskirts. Police arrested forty women, claiming that revealing clothes “are not African.”

Dan Moshenberg is Director of Women’s Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He writes: “Women [understand] that the issue of their clothing [is] nothing more or less than an attack on women’s autonomy.”

To read the full article on which this story is based, Kenyans protest after woman is beaten and stripped in public, go to: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/17/kenya-mydressmychoice-protest-woman-stripped?CMP=twt_gu

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Lesotho: Making trans rights matter

Tampose Mothopeng is a human rights defender from Lesotho. He is also young, idealistic, and transsexual. Mr. Mothopeng says, “There’s a lot of stigma in the general population.” He says the transgender community in Lesotho is tackling violence and bullying in schools, a lack of access to health services, and a high rate of unemployment.

Trans people define themselves as those who have a different self-identity than their physical gender. They face employment barriers because of their gender identity and expression. They often drop out of school because of family- or school-based violence.

According to Mr. Mothopeng, without education or employment, many are forced into sex work just to get by.

But despite these and other challenges, there is a vibrant trans movement in Lesotho working at both the grassroots and national levels. Mr. Mothopeng is the director of the Matrix Support Group, an organization which raises awareness and combats discrimination.

Matrix engages with traditional leaders, teachers, and government officials. Its members speak on radio and television talk shows. The group runs campaigns on bodily autonomy, and hosts community dialogues.

When the Government of Lesotho develops national strategic plans, Matrix pushes the government to include the perspectives of minority groups: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual/Transgender and Intersexual people, or LGBTI; men who have sex with men, and other key populations.

Mr. Mothopeng says: “We’re sensitizing and educating teachers about gender identity and human rights, and working with the Ministry of Education to develop a new module for high school students.”

Mr. Mothopeng points out that medical care can be particularly problematic for the trans community. He explains, “We cannot access health services. They don’t seem prepared to help us.” In response, Matrix released its own study on trans health this year. Mr. Mothopeng says the study was important because most research focuses on men who have sex with men only.

In May 2014, Matrix organized a march through Lesotho’s capital of Maseru to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The group uses days like this and the International Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20 to publicize issues that trans people face, and hold community-building activities such as movie screenings and group discussions.

He credits his recent Mandela Washington Fellowship experience in the U.S. with sharpening his leadership and problem-solving skills. Mr. Mothopeng says, “I now know when to say ‘no’ and when to say ‘yes.’ I don’t just rush into things. I look into things and prioritize before getting started.”

Mr. Mothopeng says he is proud of the partnerships Matrix has made. He also stresses the diversity within the organization’s management and leadership programs.

He says: “In Africa in general, most organizations have been struggling to sustain partnerships with other human rights groups or with the government itself. We don’t lose our partners. We’re a youth-led organization run by LGBTI activists.”

To read the full article on which this story was based, A movement that matters: Trans rights in Lesotho, go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randal-mason/a-movement-that-matters-t_b_6177810.html

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FRW news in brief

1-Ghana: MP justifies ‘stoning to death’ for women who commit adultery

A Ghanaian Member of Parliament, Nelson Abudu Baani, is calling for women who commit adultery to be stoned or hanged to death.

His comments have attracted severe condemnation from women rights activists and the general public, who have called for his resignation. But Mr. Abudu Baani said stoning or hanging unfaithful women to death would serve as a deterrent to other women.

He says: “That is my view. I just want [Parliament] to institute punishments for women who would be adulterous … if other people have any other punishments, they should bring it.”

Mr. Abudu Baani dismissed critics who described his suggestion as backward, saying the threat of punishment would only help women to remain faithful to their husbands.

To read the full article, go to: http://m.starrfmonline.com/1.1897376 More reaction to the story is available here: http://thisisafrica.me/stone-adulterous-women-death-says-ghanaian-mp/

2-Tanzania: Forty thousand Maasai to be evicted from Serengeti to make room for Dubai royal family

Forty thousand Maasai will be evicted from their homeland by the end of the year after the Tanzanian government reportedly backtracked on a promise to leave the pastoralists alone.

Last year, the Tanzanian government appeared to have resisted a land purchase by the Dubai royal family, proposing instead a “wildlife corridor” dedicated to hunting near Serengeti National Park. But the deal to sell the land for a private hunting reserve is reported to have gone through, and the Tanzanian government says the Maasai will have to leave.

Samwel Nangiria is the coordinator for a local civil society group called Ngonett. He says: “I feel betrayed. [Compensation of] one billion [Tanzanian shillings – $578,500 U.S.] is very little and you cannot compare that with land. It’s inherited. [Our] mothers and grandmothers are buried in that land.”

To read the full article, go to: http://www.salon.com/2014/11/17/tanzania_will_sell_masai_homeland_to_dubai_royal_family/ For further background information, see: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/04/15/news-brief-tanzanian-maasai-to-lose-land-to-%e2%80%98green-land-grab%e2%80%99-agencies/

3-Ethiopia: Abortion law reduce maternal deaths

Ethiopia decriminalized abortion in 2005 in an effort to lower high maternal death rates. At least a third of these deaths were due to botched abortions.

Dawit Argaw owns the Blue Star Clinic in Addis Ababa. He believes that safe abortions save women’s lives. He adds, “In my religion, it is forbidden. But for me as a human being, I accept it [as necessary], so that is why I do it.”

Increased access to contraceptives also improves women’s health, and the number of unwanted pregnancies is declining as more women choose to use birth control.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100463/ethiopia-s-game-changing-abortion-law

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says: “I welcome the chorus of voices calling for an end to the violence that affects an estimated one in three women in her lifetime. I applaud leaders who are helping to enact and enforce laws and change mindsets. And I pay tribute to all those heroes around the world who help victims to heal and to become agents of change.”

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The Day is the starting point for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which leads up to Human Rights Day, celebrated on December 10.

Why is there a need for these international days of observance and for a campaign to end gender-based violence? Primarily because violence against women is so prevalent, and because it’s a violation of human rights. Gender-based violence is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women.

Violence against women also impedes progress in many areas, including the eradication of poverty and the fight against HIV and AIDS. In some countries, up to 70 per cent of women will experience gender-based violence in their lifetime.

But violence against women and girls is not inevitable. You can organize and broadcast programs on your station to raise awareness. For more information about the Day, and online resources, go to: http://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/

For more information about the 16 Days of Action, go to: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/end-violence-against-women

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Take back the tech!

Take Back The Tech! is a collaborative campaign that will take place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, which runs from November 25 – December 10.

The 2014 campaign is titled Violence silences: Document. Challenge. Reclaim women’s right to expression. It is a call to everyone ― especially women and girls ― to take control of technology to end violence against women.

The Internet is an increasingly important public space, and online violence is a real threat, narrowing women’s capacity to participate in and define the space. Violence against women restricts freedom of expression. Online violence, often referred to as cvberbullying, makes it difficult for women to participate in the public sphere and contribute to culture and decision-making, and makes women afraid to critique policies and systems.

Exercising the right to freedom of expression is critical to ending violence and promoting other rights. This change can be brought about by speaking up, making violence visible, exchanging information, and building solidarity through communication.
As part of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, Take Back the Tech! invites people to help focus the conversation about violence against women on violating a woman’s fundamental human right to freedom of expression.

Find out more at the Take back the tech! website: https://www.takebackthetech.net/page/about-campaign

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Tackling Ebola at ground zero: African singers and artists unite to record Africa Stop Ebola

A collective of African artists has united to record a song to raise awareness about Ebola. This song will raise funds to support the work of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in West Africa.

Africa Stop Ebola is now available for download through all major online music retailers. The song features West African artists Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Kandia Kora, Mory Kante, Sia Tolno, and Barbara Kanam, rappers Didier Awadi, Marcus and Mokobé, and musicians Sekou Kouyaté (electric guitar, bass, and electric kora) and Ludovic N’Holle (drums).

The song gives citizens information on what they can do about Ebola, and provides hope that this epidemic can be stopped. It is performed in French and in other languages widely spoken across the region. This ensures that the message will be understood regardless of the listener’s level of literacy or education.

A video clip of the song is being promoted on TV and local websites throughout West Africa, with the support of a team of local music promoters and community organizations. Africa Stop Ebola has also been distributed to radio stations across the region, with support from AMARC, the World Association of Community Radio Stations.
MSF is providing independent medical aid and emergency relief to Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, and has deployed more than 3,300 dedicated health workers in the field.

A video clip of the song is available at:

Editor’s note: If you are a West African radio broadcaster and would like to play the song on your airwaves, listen to the audio file here: https://soundcloud.com/africastopebola/africa-stop-ebola

For more information, please email africastopebola@gmail.com.

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Farm Radio Weekly spotlights African farm broadcasters

Farm Radio International knows that farmer radio programs help farmers voice their concerns and share their lives through the airwaves. We want to celebrate the hard work of the farm radio broadcasters who serve these farmers.

Starting in December 2014, we will be profiling an African farm broadcaster in many of our weekly FRW editions. We will be collecting stories about farm radio broadcasters from all over Africa.

We want to build a better understanding and an appreciation for what African farm broadcasters do, and spotlight how their work improves the lives of small-scale farmers and farming communities.

Do you or your station want to be featured in Farm Radio Weekly? Do you want to nominate another broadcaster you think FRW readers should hear about?

Get in touch with us by emailing nbassily@farmradio.org and proberts@farmradiotz.org.

In your email, tell us:

why you think your work and the work of your radio station should be highlighted;

how your farm radio programs are put together; and,

how you interact with your farming audience.

Whether you are nominating yourself or another broadcaster, please email us with responses to the questions above, along with your contact information (name and phone number) or the contact details of the broadcaster you are nominating.

We will follow up with you or the person you are nominating –and get your stories published!

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How to establish and manage successful radio listening groups

Our script of the week is from our latest Resource Pack, #99.

It is a broadcaster-how-to document which presents a tried and true method of establishing and managing radio listening groups, based on many years of experience in Zambia. The document is designed as a guide to forming and maintaining radio listening groups rather than a strict “blueprint” to follow, regardless of the situation. The basic principles of establishing and managing radio listening groups are well-established and do not vary greatly.

The document touches on the disadvantages of traditional radio listening, the advantages of listening to the radio in listener groups, ways of organizing listening groups, training listening groups, supporting listening groups, and monitoring and evaluating the success of radio listening groups.

http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/pakage-99-cassava-the-post-harvest-value-chain/how-to-establish-and-manage-successful-radio-listening-groups/

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Call for stories: Red Elephant Foundation wants to hear from human rights defenders

The Red Elephant Foundation is an initiative built on the foundations of storytelling, civilian peace-building and activism for gender sensitivity.

The initiative records and highlights stories that must never be forgotten, stories that show courage and hold profound lessons that the world should always remember. Red Elephant Foundation aims to create awareness and open channels of communication in order to create tolerant, peaceful and equitable societies.

The Foundation is calling for real stories from all over the world ― stories of survival and rising above adversity in conflict; of surviving gender-based violence; of peace-making and change-making; of surviving domestic violence, and; stories of those who defend human rights.

You do not have to be a writer to submit a story. If you have a story to share, contact the Foundation at info@redelephantfoundation.org. They will arrange a time for an interview. Let them help you use your voice to broadcast the truth.

This call for stories has no deadline.

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