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How Freda Pigru got women to talk on her Ghanan community radio station

Rabble.ca of Canada has posted a great WINGS interview with Freda Pigru, the manager of a north Ghanan community radio station supported by the Foundation for Rural Education and Development.

I have transcribed some of her comments below with interviewer Lydia Ajono.

Freda Pigru: Where I am, the women culturally are not given the voice. We have only two women who can come to our radio station and confidently speak on radio. But the rest, if you follow them up into their communities into their fields, they shy away from the recorder—unless you find other means of letting them talking, like singing . . .

So even at community meetings, the women don’t talk. . . . Women’s issues are not really well portrayed in our community. I have this intention that using this office, learning more from the other women, and then picking up a few role models at least I’ll be able to make an impact.

But I know you can’t only do this educating only women. You need to also include the men, let them know. Because if you put all your resources and energy into letting the women know they are right . . . there will be no peace at home. So it is educating the general public on the role of the woman and how it is important for the woman to show up in the public domain and make decisions.

Lydia Ajono: You say there is only one woman who comes to the radio station. . . .

Freda Pigru: Two women.

Lydia Ajono: Two. Could you say a little about their story.

Freda Pigru: These women are the few educated women we have in the district. One is a nurse. The other happens to be a teacher. When I started to do a female program on the radio station, I realized that it is men coming in to discuss the main issues. They don’t really know how the women feel. So at one time I had an opportunity to talk to one of the women at a hospital. I introduced myself to her and told her I wanted to invite her for a program. At first she was very reluctant to come by. I told her it was nothing. I just want you to be a role model to the other women.

So she promised to come. And the first week we organized the program and she didn’t come. I felt very bad but . . . then I met the other woman, and she said the first woman told her she was invited to the program, but she was scared. She had never been the radio station before. So I told them, ok, maybe they can talk to each other. She can convince her friend and they can both come . . . with another gentleman. Because without a man the men in their homes or their husbands will feel that they have come to talk against men. So we had to lobby for a man to come and help and support them to talk about the issues.

And that is how we got a man. And those two remained after the program that day. After that the feedback from the community was good and so we decided to keep it running.

Wings is the Women’s International News Gathering Service. This is an edited transcript of part of the interview. You should definitely listen to the entire discussion on Rabble.ca.


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