Radio Christian Voice Institutional profile

Radio Christian Voice Institutional profile

Date: June 28, 2013
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Giving voice to voiceless at Radio Christian Voice

The Centres of Excellence for gender mainstreaming in media project has started to ground the approach of Radio Christian Voice in gender issues in regional and international gender instruments. While the station still has a long way to go in incorporating key provisions of many of these, the gender committee is becoming more familiar and started implementing key provisions of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development in particular the media targets.

RCV signed a memorandum of understanding with Gender Links in November 2011 as a sign of commitment to the COE process. Racheal Kalapa, who heads the gender committee for the station, mentioned that the momentum picked up at the end of the year (2012), when she spoke to the Station Manager and was appointed as the focal person.

Radio Christian Voice adopted a gender policy in early February 2013, which was signed by the station manager, Mwiza Sinyangwe. The station has no board, but has a management committee of three people. The station manager is a woman (33%) and with two men (67%) in head of programmes and finance roles. Out of a total of nine managers, four (44%) are women.

In fact, the media house has now set targets for achieving gender balance at all levels by 2015, which is set out in the adopted gender policy of 30%, but less than the Protocol’s target (50%). So far, the station is doing well. Three females (75%) out of the four journalists and three (60%) of the five presenters are women employed by the community broadcaster. But to sustain this rate of achievement and also to ensure men do not lag behind, this needed to be captured in policy in order to institutionalise the good practice in line with the SADC Gender Protocol.

The station is making strides in advancing gender equality in terms of both the workplace as well as in editorial content. Even before the adoption of a policy, this has almost been intuitive, because the station manager, Sinyangwe, is a woman.

Employment adverts are gender neutral at the moment, but Mwanza said this may improve with the adoption of a gender policy which is yet to be operationalised. By virtue of the fact that top management has gender parity, two women (50%) and two men are in the panel for interviews; this has also been gender balanced.

Evans Zyuulu backed Mwanza on the issue that maternity leave granted to employees of 120 days is actually better than what the national law provides for, which is 90 days. However until the adoption of the gender policy there was no stipulation for paternity leave, and this has been on a discretionary basis. The practice was that men who requested to support their partners were allowed to do so, with Simwanza sharing that he had to be at home with his pregnant wife for over two months until she gave birth as she had been hospitalised.

This is one of the free radio stations that provides free production and flighting of jingles for the Ministry of Gender and Child Development. For example, the station has participated in International Women’s Day and Sixteen Days of Activism against gender violence campaign, live broadcasts of gender issues for example during elections.

In an interview with Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah, Peggy Simwanza, the planning and research officer for Gender in Development Department (GIDD) in the Ministry of Gender confirmed that Radio Christian Voice has done jingles as well as provided a forum for the department to engage with the community for free and on a regular basis. The community station is definitely bringing value to its audiences in terms of promoting gender equality.

The station’s new gender policy and disciplinary measures used in past incidents show that sexual harassment is not tolerated. Mwanza shared a story of how a manager had been suspended following the lodging of a complaint. This example would be shown in confidence after removing names of the people involved to the verification team.

Rachael Kalapa mentioned that there had been no in-house training on gender done so far and most of this has been provided by external partners such as Gender Links, Ministry of Gender and others.

The newly adopted gender policy has now set a framework for targets to increase the quantity of coverage on gender specific topics such as gender based violence; laws to promote equality among others. More effort is required to ensure that whenever a news reporter or presenter talks about policy, there is a systematic gender analysis of its effects on different population groups disaggregated by sex, location, age and other factors. This tends to happen in obvious areas like politics, GBV stories and HIV and AIDS.

A key concern is that no matter how the station tries to involve women in call in shows, men are the ones who mostly call during live call in programmes. Gender is a specific beat, as it is a specific area of assignment. The four journalists rotate beats, so that means the one male also gets to cover gender specific issues or events.

Because the station upholds Christian values, they have always had the stance not to allow adverts that denigrate women or men or another religion by design. The gender policy now has stipulation not to take business based on sexist adverts

The marketing survey held by Synorvert in 2011 contracted by Radio Christian Voice so that they get to understand the people who listen to them provided gender disaggregated. However this would only be provided later once retrieved.

Interestingly enough, the team leading the gender mainstreaming process is headed by a woman, but out of the team of four, three are men.

Kalapa mentioned that the next phase will involve sitting down with all staff for them to understand what it means to be a centre of excellence and make them understand the policy. More people will become involved in the gender mainstreaming process as part of operationalisation of the gender policy. They believe that the Kalingalinga community, who is their main target, will benefit from the implementation of the policy.



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