by Empowerhouse / Birgitte Jallov

16 women working with community radio to strengthen the voices and lives of women in their area

Kadi Souley Bonkano, Radio FAHAM, Niger

Kadi Souley Bonkano from Niger’s capital city Niamey was a broadcaster on the local community radio Radio Anfani. Kadi worked to develop the women’s radio based on a local women’s association she had founded, called FAHAM. Faham is a word borrowed from Arabic which means understanding. Kadi wants to ensure education and ‘understanding’ – also of women’s perspectives, experiences, dreams and lives through FAHAM.

Faham was created in 2005 as an apolitical, non-denominational and non-profit national association, focusing on ways to ensure equity and greater inclusion of the voices of women living in semi-urban and rural areas. The association soon realised that to achieve their goals, community radio, which Kadi had experience with earlier, would be not only a good way, it became a priority, and FAHAM got a broadcast license for the radio in 2010.

FAHAM had the support of a former MP, who secured free offices in the suburbs of Niamey, and from Kadi’s sister, the station got a computer, a printer and a photocopier which both were used for training and functioned as a small telecentre, allowing the volunteers to have an income while waiting for the installation of the equipment.

FAHAM therefore started training women leaders in the community to become community broadcasters and identified an acute need for a community school, which the association started. It is for children 3-5 years old and financed by the parents, who pay 15 euros per year. With the school in place, it was easier for the community radio volunteers to spend time at the station.

Whereas the school is still in place, the station closed down after heavy rains flooded the association’s office and they had to realise that the location of the offices could not guarantee the stability and safety of the radio that they needed. The broadcasters continued producing programmes that were broadcast on other existing stations. Activities were suspended in 2019 when COVID-19 arrived.

Last year, in 2022, FAHAM started a reorganization of the association and the radio-focus. FAHAM intends to be the 1st web radio in Niger by women and for women, ensuring dialogue for women to share and act together, breaking down constraints on women’s access to media and public spaces.

The station will contribute to strengthening the image of rural women and it intends to reach and impact 25,000 to 30,000 households. so now, again, FAHAM trains women leaders – the future broadcasters to cover the information needs and interests they together have worked to identify.

Read more here: https://empowerhouse.dk/kadi-souley-bonkano/

EMPOWERHOUSE launches its contribution to the 16-day campaign by sharing 16 women’s community radio stories: unfolding how each broadcaster has been seeing positive change for women and girls – working intensely to eliminate violence against women and girls.