Pressrelease UNICEF, Juba South Sudan 20-07-16: 35 radio-station throughout South Sudan have started broadcasting dramas on child marriage to increase awareness about its negative impacts, particularly on girls, and to help end the practice, UNICEF said today. The radio dramas are produced and broadcasted by Amalna, a South Sudanese cultural organization, in partnership with UNICEF.
UNICEF estimates that more than half of all South Sudanese girls were married or in a culturally recognized union before they were 18 years old. One out of three girls had been made pregnant before they were 15 years old. Early pregnancies put at risk the health of both the girl and the baby, jeopardizes the girl’s education and increases her vulnerability to abuses and exploitation.
The aim of the radio dramas is to raise community awareness on the negative effects of child marriages on girls and societies at large. By focusing attention on the violence, abuse and psychosocial distress girls are exposed to, these dramas try to steer a dialogue on gender inequalities and patriarchal values in South Sudan which perpetuates child marriages and limit girls’ opportunities for reaching their full potential.
“Every girl married before reaching adult age, is one too much. Child marriage is a serious child right violation, condemned by international and national South Sudanese legislation,” said Dr Mohamed Ayoya, the UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. “Unfortunately, the practice of child marriage is still deeply embedded in the habits of the communities in South Sudan. The radio dramas will help stimulate a debate within the communities and can hopefully contribute to ending the practice of child marriage in the country.”
Preliminary results of a survey conducted by UNICEF on knowledge, attitudes and practices around child marriage in South Sudan indicate that 40 per cent of the respondents agree that even if a girl does not want to marry, she should honor the decisions of her family; and one out of three of the respondents agree that a girl should marry once she starts menstruating, which can be as early as 12 years of age. These findings illustrate the deeply rooted believes and practices held by adults. They significantly contribute to gender inequality. The results of the survey will be made public later this year.
The first five pilot episodes of the radio dramas are being broadcasted in English and Arabic. They can be heard on 35 radio stations that have partnered with UNICEF, broadcasting throughout South Sudan, including in Aweil, Bentiu, Bor, Juba, Malakal, Pibor, Torit, Wau, Yambio and Yei. Listener group discussions and feedback will be gathered as a basis for ten additional episodes that will be broadcasted later.
“These radio dramas are an important contribution of UNICEF and partners to the realization of the Strategic National Action Plan 2017-2030 to End Child Marriage adopted by the South Sudanese Government,” said Dr Ayoya. “I call on community influencers at national and state level to join the efforts lead by the authorities of South Sudan and to speak up and act against child marriage to promote positive behavioral change for the wellbeing of the children of South Sudan and for the future of the entire country.”
The Radio Stations
The radio dramas on child marriage are broadcasted on following radio stations; the radios can provide more information about the broadcasting schedule: Eye Radio (Juba), City 88.4 FM (Juba), Radio One 87.9 FM (Juba), SSBC Radio 105.0 FM (Juba), Spirit 99.9 FM (Yei), Easter 94.0 FM (Yei), Rumbek 98.0 FM (Rumbek), Good News Radio 89.0 FM (Rumbek), Yirol Community Radio 88.8 FM (Yirol), Radio Saalam 99.1 FM (Malakal), Naath FM (Maban), Nile FM (Malakal), Jamjang 89.4 FM (Jamjang), Voice of Love (Malakal), Anisa 92.0 FM (Yambio), Yambio 90.0 FM (Yambio), Maridi 88.9 FM (Maridi), Radio Wau (Wau), Centenary FM (Tumbora), Voice Of Hope 98.65 (Wau), Kondial 97.2 FM (Bentiu), Radio Emmanuel 89.0 FM (Torit), Voice of EE 97.5 FM (Torit), Singaita 88.0 FM (Kapoeta), Akol Yam 99.9 FM (Aweil), Weerbei Radio (Wanyjok), Nhomlau Radio 88.0 FM (Aweil East), Radio Jonglei 95.9 FM (Bor), Voice of Freedom (Magwi), Pibor Community Radio (Pibor), Radio Peace and Reconciliation 98.4 FM (Bor), Radio Don Bosco 91.0 FM (Tonj), Mayardit 90.7 FM (Turalei), Radio Tamazuj Shortwave (Bentiu), Kuajok FM (Kuajok).