Purity Shawa, 21, is a volunteer for Tikambe! (Let’s Talk!), a joint BBC Media Action and Restless Development project in Zambia. The project uses TV, radio, online media and peer education to train young people in life skills, improve their knowledge of sexual and reproductive rights, and improve access to friendly health services. This blog is part of our Young Powerful Women series for International Women’s Day.
The radio station that we are working with on the Tikambe! project is one of the biggest in Kabwe (the capital of Zambian Central Province). It is everywhere. You go in stores, you listen to KNC radio; you go into town, anywhere you go – even if you board a bus you will find people listening to it. So it is the easiest way of reaching a large number of people out there.
On one show we were talking about rape. We just want to know what effect rape has on the victim. We also want to find out what has contributed to a high number of rape cases in Zambia. We want to find the solution, or anything that can be done to avert this problem in Zambia. Once they have knowledge about rape and the effects that it has, people will get to know what to do if it happens to them, and be able to quickly report it and get emotional support and help from the hospital.
We see the show as a solution because at least when people hear these issues being talked about, and a lot of young people are contributing, it will really help other young people that still feel they can’t come out and just speak. We just want to let people know that we bring in an aspect of Zambian law. So we have guests on show from the law side, to talk about where people can report such issues, if a young person is raped where they can go for help, what health services they can access and where.
We also go in the communities to get views of people. Young people who are just growing up, adolescents, they don’t understand that their body changes, they don’t understand what happens, so they need that education, and we also need to hear from them.
At first I never knew much about sexual and reproductive health and other livelihood and employment topics or issues. So now that I’m involved with this project I have been learning throughout and I’m still learning. It has really changed me; it had just given me that passion to carry on and want to give more information to people who need it.