Ending Gender-based Violence, One Listener at A Time

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Ending Gender-based Violence, One Listener at A Time

As the sun sets over Cotabato City on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, 29-year-old Noraida Sandukan-Masukat slips into a sound-proof room, dons her headphones, and does one final sound check. The clock strikes seven, and Noraida’s voice resonates throughout the studio and in thousands of communities across central Mindanao and Basilan, sharing messages of hope and raising awareness about gender-based violence amid the pandemic.

Noraida, a program assistant and anchor for community-based radio outlet Radyo Gandingan, understands the power of radio to help families cope with the pandemic and raise listeners’ awareness about violence that may occur at home.

These messages have been especially needed over the past year and a half, as COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines have drastically changed household dynamics. Although some people have been able to improve familial ties during extended stay-at-home orders, others have been trapped in abusive households, unable to access legal, health, and other services.

Noraida and her team at Radyo Gandingan use interviews, radio spots, peace songs, greetings, and drama to tackle themes of health, education, values formation, and family issues. Their broadcasts in the local language of Maguindanaon reach an estimated 3.5 million people in the region through Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) - DXMY 729KHz.

Last year, Noraida and 12 other community broadcasters from Maguindanao and Cotabato City participated in a USAID-supported radio production workshop about combatting COVID-19 and domestic violence during the pandemic through key radio messages. Broadcasters also learned about the gender-based violence referral pathway, wherein survivors can report gender-based violence and seek assistance at different referral points.

“Through USAID support, Radyo Gandingan trained us to produce localized radio spots that can help combat the spread of COVID-19 and domestic violence during the pandemic,” shared Noraida.

At the end of the training sessions, participants wrote and recorded radio spots sharing localized messages about gender-based violence prevention and referral, adolescent health behaviors, responsible parenthood, and COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Program head of Radyo Gandingan and the Al-Hayat Foundation Vernecie Castillon said that these radio spots highlighted the role of the community in providing information to ensure healthy behaviors, including prevention of domestic violence and abuse.

For Noraida, the activity was more than a workshop. It also opened opportunities for partnerships and alliances against gender-based violence.

“This workshop was very useful, especially for our male community radio volunteers. While writing and recording radio spots [about men’s role in gender-based violence prevention], the men better understood what gender-based violence is. They realized that even what seems like a slight verbal abuse of their wives is part of the spectrum of gender-based violence,” said Noraida. “The workshop has been a meaningful step to raise awareness about this important but neglected issue for our community listeners,” she said.

Last updated: January 18, 2022

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