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Despite great strides in gender equality made around the world during the 20th century, women and girl children are still among the most vulnerable in society. We hear the stories of some of the most affected in this hour. Refugee women are increasingly subject to abuse in camps or in transit and are also particularly susceptible to the risk of AIDS as a result of rape and forced sex. Differing views and strategies associated with the safety of HIV positive women breastfeeding and the likelihood of their offspring getting the disease are aired in this program. And a survey in Ghana documents that as a result of poverty; increasingly women are assuming a higher risk of exposure to AIDS by becoming sex workers. Other reports in this program include details of women who have experienced obstructed child deliveries and long-term medical problems as a result because they live in rural areas without access to health care. The last two segments come from southern Africa - from Alexandra township in South Africa where a woman who experienced spousal abuse herself established a physical abuse educational program for men - and an interview recorded in Namibia about creative ways to communicate with and discipline teenagers. The program content was provided by WREN Media for the Panos Institute, Search for Common Ground Productions, the Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC), and the University of Namibia.

Many traditional rites and customs in Africa focus on women. Throughout Africa, traditional leaders and scholars alike -- men and women -- are discussing the value and relevance of some of these practices in the new millennium. In this edition of the Africa Learning Channel, we learn that the Luo people in Kenya are examining the practice of wife inheritance and have concluded it should no longer be mandatory. Listeners also hear about a thirteen-year old girl in Nigeria, who has just learned she will soon become a child bride in an arranged marriage. We also hear from social scientist Marla Grobilaas, a psychologist in Namibia who describes the many forms abuse of women can take, and talks about some of the underlying causes. Other subjects included in this program are violence against women and information about a model program for men in South Africa that has been successful in lowering the incidence of marital violence and wife abuse. Many African women are becoming empowered with economic independence. Such is the case in East Africa, where Masai women are earning income through the sale of milk. The University of Namibia, Radio Bridge Overseas, Communicating for Change of Nigeria, WREN Media and Panos Radio ,InterWorld, Search for Common Ground and Common Ground Productions contributed audio content to this program.


This program provides advice about everyday maladies as well as information about research projects and new treatments being developed to overcome diseases that are particularly virulent in Africa. The first two reports focus on smoking. One woman describes how she was inspired to become an anti-smoking activist when a woman with three children died in her thirties of lung cancer as a result of smoking. The activist helped galvanize a movement in Zambia, which has successfully gotten no-smoking provisions implemented in restaurants and other public places in that country. The program also presents information on the relationship between STDs or sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, and blood brokering or the selling of blood and its affect on blood supplies and the incidence of AIDS. The last segments focus on maladies that may be unique to Africa or tropical climates - such as hookworms and intestinal parasites and also the Barudi flesh-eating ulcer. The program includes an interview about the first all-Africa conference convened to discuss the special needs of the continent's deaf citizens, and a report on a play therapy program for children who witnessed and participated in war-related atrocities in Mozambique. The program content was provided by Search for Common Ground Productions, WREN for the Panos Institute, the Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC), and the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF).


This program is about appropriate uses of technology in relationship to sustainable development and the environment in Africa. First we visit Kenya where we learn about the St. Joseph the Worker church-based microenterprise that is producing roofing tiles to help alleviate the country's housing shortage and to create a successful business that provides citizens training and financial stability. The next excerpt is a radio drama that is entertaining and informative, providing information on the correct use of land and soil conservation. The third story is about a microenterprise in Zimbabwe, where a woman's cooperative is experiencing financial success producing cooking oil from sunflowers with a hand-cranked press. The hour closes with information on the greenbelt movement in Kenya and its founder describing how planting a tree is a statement of optimism that promotes democracy and improves quality of life. The program content was provided by Search for Common Ground Productions, and Making it Work, a product of Radio Bridge Overseas.

Trees are taken for granted, according to the radio drama, "I Cut, You Cut" heard in this edition of the Africa Learning Channel. We hear about the consequences of not only cutting trees for firewood and building materials, but also for commercial sale. As a counterpoint to that message, we hear about the Greenbelt movement in Kenya, which has organized around the notion that planting trees is an act which promotes democracy. Other segments in this program document how environmentalism, food security and eco-tourism are all being promoted through the formation of collectives. Many of the collectives that are documented are organized or led by women. In this program, we visit milk collectives run by Masai women in Tanzania, a national dairy association in Malawi, a collective community garden in the Gambia, and a women's collective as well as a farmers' union in Zimbabwe. We also hear details about a community-run tourist campsite in Namibia. Content for this program was provided by Common Ground Productions, Radio Bridge Overseas, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, and Communicating for Change.

In this hour, stories are shared about how several communities in Africa are resolving water-related problems creatively. In Zimbabwe, we hear how a community living on the tallest mountain in that country is using ramp pump to move water up high slopes. We also hear how Lesotho, a smalll nation completely surrounded by South Africa, uses its primary resource of water as a bargaining chip in bilateral relations and trade agreement with its neighbor. We also hear how scientist in Ethipia have developed an environmentally friendly method of making river water potable and ridding rivers of parasites. The program also includes information about a community in South Africa that was displaced for construction of the Kruger National Park and is negotiating for the right to participate in decisions about development of the park. Program content was provided by Search for Common Ground Productions; Making it Work, a product of Radio Bridge Overseas; and the Kenyan Institute of Education.


This program is produced for children of all ages. The first excerpt presents the story of a hyena, a goat and an eagle. The story dramatizes that people must respect the property of others; the best arrangements are those that are "win-win" where everyone benefits; and that people who are very different and do not appear to have a lot in common can still be very good friends. The second feature is centered on a guessing game between two friends about what one of them is building to protect his garden of peaches. It promotes deductive reasoning and rational thinking. The program content was provided by the Open Learning Systems Education Trust (OLSET).


Joblessness has increased in Africa over the past five to ten years, with the tallies of those officially counted as out of work up to as much as 40% of the available work force in many countries. But efforts to create work are also on the increase as Africans across the continent continue to create and develop diverse options for self-sufficiency and community development. We will hear details in this edition of the
Africa Learning Channel of how college graduates in particular are facing a limited job market. That reality is dramatized in a radio play titled, "I Need a Job." Listeners will also hear information revealing that in South Africa, African women have the highest rate of joblessness. Information is presented about a union formed to represent women in that country who are informal workers, working for themselves without benefits or job security. Some South African women are also being trained for jobs traditionally assumed by men through the Working for Water project. Also in collectively pressing sunflower seeds for cooking oil. In Liberia, adults have increased their options for employment by learning to read. And unemployed men in Togo identified a need and formed a lucrative business to provide transportation services in the capital city, Lome. Content for this program was provided by Communication for Change of Nigeria, Workers World Radio of South Africa, Radio Bridge Overseas of Zimbabwe, and InterWorld.



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