Chad Reaching Out to Women in Chad

    

Reaching Out to Women in Chad

There is a gender dividing line in education in Chad. (see chart 1 below). Fewer women are able to reach higher levels of educational attainment, or any education at all.  

Chadian women also face cultural and social challenges. For example, Chad has one of the highest rates of under-age marriage in the world. [1]  Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reports that domestic violence against women is common even though it is prohibited by law. 

While female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is also prohibited, a 2004 government report by the National Institute of Statistics, Economic and Demographic Studies claimed that 45 percent of local women had undergone FGM/C. [2]  In rural areas, women tend to be confined to traditional roles and perform most agricultural labor. The country has a high maternal mortality rate, with 1,100 women dying in childbirth out of 100,000. Only 16 percent of births are assisted by a skilled attendant.

                                                                                                              Chart 1


This has a direct effect on women's access to information and rates of use of media and ICTs.  Twenty one percent of women surveyed in 2009 said they have access to a TV at home and an equal proportion said they watch television weekly.

Twice the proportion of men than those who claim to have household access to TVs report weekly TV viewership.
 
With men however, proportion of those who view televsion weekly is double that of those men who said they have access to a television at home. This could signify greater mobility and access outside the home that men have to televisions (compare chart 2 and 3  below for access and TV viewership).

 

Chart 2

According to Internews, “Women say they seldom have the opportunity to listen to the radio because their husbands control what is listened to and will take the radio with them when they leave the house.”  [3]  If one compares radio access between men and women (see chart 2), their access is nearly equal. However, the proportion of women who say they listen to radio weekly is much lower than those who say they have household access to one (73 percent weekly listenership versus 89 percent household access, chart 3).  

Chart 3




There are also some differences observed with listenership for international broadcasters RFI and BBC- men have higher listenership (table 1).

Table 1

                             

Women face particular challenges in the refugee-rich eastern regions of Ouddai and Sila (which was an erstwhile part of Ouddai), There are estimated to be close to 270,000 Sudanese refugees who have fled to Eastern Chad, and to close to 170,000 internally displaced Chadians. [4]  This complex emergency puts women in that region (both Chadian and refugees from Sudan) in an especially dangerous position; Internews reports that the level of gender-based violence in these eastern regions is also very high.  [5]

Chart 4

                                  

When media use and access trends for women in Eastern Chad are compared with the other sectors, women in the east are particularly disadvantaged (see chart 3 and 4). They are less likely to listen to radio, watch television and have access to a mobile phone.

Chart 5

                                    


Some small community radio stations have been set up recently in the Ouddai region in Eastern Chad run by non-profit groups (listenership for these stations not available in our survey) to provide information to refugees.  Starting in 2005, Internews built three community radio stations- Radio Absoun, Radio Sila and La Voix du Ouaddaï -along the Chad-Sudan border, and trained local journalists to run them. Much of their programming also focuses on gender based violence and special programming on women’s issues. They also distributed radio stations among women, to ensure communal listening to certain programs.

“She Speaks, She Listens,” hosted by Houda Malloum (see picture to the left launched in 2006 and airs on Internews' network of community radio stations.  It highlights services that are available to women in an effort to promote psychological healing and offer support to female refugees. [6]

The program uses teams of Chadian female reporters who speak with refugees in the camps about their grief and trauma and research mental health services available to these women. This show is produced in French and Arabic. Programs such as these provide women with vital information- but also seem to give them a platform to voice their opinions. [7]

Another show, “Women’s Crossroads,” was launched by Internews in 2009 and is aired on Radio Sila (89.9 FM) (see right). This show also focuses on informing women about health and rights related issues. A part of this program also included distributing wind-up radios to women and assigning them responsibility for promoting community listening so that many more would have access to this service. [8]  Internews also has programs training journalists in N’Djamena to report on gender-based violence and women’s rights in remote communities.

However, even with these efforts, communications networks remain scarce- for Chadians in general, but women in particular. Besides southwestern Chad, where a number of FM stations are available, platforms such as those provided by Internews in the East or Central Chad are rare.

Pictures Courtesy: Internews and Mknobil on Flickr


[1] IRIN Chad Humanitarian Country Profile. Accessed at http://www.irinnews.org/country.aspx?CountryCode=TD&RegionCode=WA

[2] Ibid

[3] Communication Initiative Profile- Women's Crossroads. Accessed at http://www.comminit.com/en/node/304728/38

[4]  USAID-Complex Emergency    http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/countries/chad/template/fs_sr/fy2010/chad_ce_sr02_03-26-2010.pdf

[5] Internews in Sub Sharan Africa. Accessed at http://www.internews.org/regions/africa/chad.shtm

[6] Communication Initiative Profile- Elles Parlent, Elles Écoutent (She Speaks, She Listens) http://www.comminit.com/en/node/134390/38

[7] Ibid

[8] Communication Initiative Profile- Women's Crossroads. Accessed at http://www.comminit.com/en/node/304728/38