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Project 3
Great Lakes Region:  Create a Pilot Radio Programme Featuring Women’s Rights Defender Julienne Lusenge

2016: This project is to design and produce a pilot radio program hosted by Julienne Lusenge for Great Lakes Region audiences on issues of interest to African women today.  The team will develop the concept, format, content ideas and scope of topics related to Great Lakes Region issues and produce a pilot radio program. Regarding distribution, national and community radio stations will be offered the program for free and networks of Listening Centers and Listener Distributors will be established. Distribution may also be enhanced via a ”free returned call” service offered through our partnership with a local cell phone service provider and perhaps VOTO Mobile (Ghana), depending on further funding.   

The project team are all attending the Committee on the Status of Women in NYC in mid-March 2016, where a ready-for-broadcast pilot radio program will be designed and produced that is appropriate for broadcast by national and community radio, mobile phone and podcasting in the Great Lakes Region.

Globally celebrated women’s rights advocate and DRC’s French Legion of Honour recipient Julienne Lusenge is the host and creative force behind the program.
Julienne was a radio journalist when the conflict in the Great Lakes Region began in the 1990’s.  Julienne  famously took to the streets and the radio airwaves to ask women to come out and help other women and she has not stopped since. Julienne co founded  SOFEPADI (Women's Solidarity for Peace and Integral Development), in 2001, an NGO working for women and girls' rights in Beni ( North Kivu) and Bunia (Eastern Province) which is famous for its holistic approach to helping women become agents of change in their communities, and operates a hospital where women begin their journeys as survivors of rape.   She is Director and Founder of the Fonds Femmes Congolaises, a fund of funds to help grassroots women’s groups in the DRC.

Julienne is a special adviser to the The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, part of the Nobel Women's Initiative. She is also Vice President of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) section DRC and coordinates the national campaign of Congolese women against sexual violence, created in November 2007 in Montreal.  She is regularly invited to speak at national and international fora. 
 
In July 2013, Julienne was decorated as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour by the French government. This was in recognition of her tireless work over the last thirty years to defend and promote the rights of women in the DRC often risking her own safety and that of her family.  In 2015, she was one of three women from civil society asked to speak on behalf of civil society at the United Nations Security Council on the Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Peace & Security.

Project 2
Ebola:  Use Bluetooth To Reach Sierra Leone's Rural Women and Girls With News and Information

2014 to 2016: The unprecedented Ebola Virus Disease epidemic exposed not only failures in the local and international responses to a wide-scale epidemic, but the ineffectiveness of using top down messaging.  

MMW was demonstrating how to deliver credible and trustworthy information to “last mile” populations when the Ebola Virus Disease crisis began.  In late 2014 we received a second round of grants to continue our broadcasting from the African Women’s Development Fund (Ghana), Indigo Trust (United Kingdom), and Oak Foundation (Switzerland).  

We are now focused on reaching women and girls in the most remote areas of Sierra Leone with relevant news and information in their language on a weekly basis about the Ebola crisis as well as other issues of importance to their lives. We organized our listeners to be our distributers.  Networks of listeners pass our weekly programs, one-on-one via Bluetooth, starting with an MMW journalist and ending with “Ambassadors” designated in rural villages.  We also share of our programs via Bluetooth with cell phone kiosks and community radio stations to further extend our broadcast reach.  

Our objective is to build a market for the local production and distribution of radio-style programming that is focused on women’s issues and is relevant in Sierra Leone as well as more broadly across West Africa. We are very pleased to report that we surpassed our goals for our main three metrics:  broadcast reach, audience appreciation, and program quality.  We reach approximately 9,000 direct listeners a month with our three professional MMW journalists.  They work part-time for MMW and each created and manages three listener-distributor networks comprised of five individuals.

We supply regular programming in multiple languages on issue such as:

•	basic human rights  
•	gender-based violence
•	teen-age pregnancy
•	importance of girls attending school
•	health 
•	participatory democracy
•	income generation 

We envision a nation-wide, horizontally-structured peer-to-peer system of content distribution.



2013 to 2014:  Our journalists used Bluetooth on basic cell phones to transfer weekly ten-minute audio files of original programming to Listening Centers set up by our journalists, and also directly to listeners via Bluetooth.  

In our first three months of this initial project, we had 4,195 listener-visits to our 15 Listening Centers. Our strategy to locate our Listening Centers in Sierra Leone’s hospitals, health care clinics, schools and youth centers proved effective in attracting loyal listeners. The most successful Listening Centers were located in hospitals and youth centers. Some of the weekly topics included teenage marriage, wife abandonment, education for girls, HIV and AIDS, and corruption in schools.  

Our journalists:

Produced original weekly radio-style content on ideas important to women and girls in their region, especially those living in rural communities.

Broadcast to Listening Centers located in places convenient and accessible to women and girls such as hospitals, health clinics and youth centers.

Used feedback from listeners to craft new weekly programs.

A full evaluation of the project is available (see “MMW In A Box” on our website) which showed that MMW proved that there is an alternative means of delivering high-quality public service broadcasts to women and girls in Sierra Leone which is much more cost effective than radio.

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