Making Radio With Girls Where They Are
Co-authored by Josephine Kamara, Nyangah Rogers-Wright and Victoria Ballah
Since May 2020, we have produced four series of the radio talk show, Karo Kura Konection and it’s drama series, Kompin and through all of these, we have listened to insights and learnings about the impact of the show in the lives of girls. Nothing compares to when we listen to girls’ views about the show and learn about how they have been organising to support each other through the inspiration they are drawing from the characters and scenarios within the radio show and drama.
Last year, we visited five Purposeful girl-only safe spaces known as Girls’ Circles, in Moyamba and Bonthe District, who meet weekly to listen to Karo Kura Konection. One of the circles we visited is a four hour trip from Bonthe island, an hour by car and three hours on water. To reach it by boat, you need to be in the water before 8am when the tide is at its highest level — anytime after this means walking about an hour in the water to reach the shoreline, and then to return, you have to wait for the tide to be high again at night. We got unlucky, and the team had to walked an hour in the shallows to reach the shore. Our mobile networks were off and when we finally got signals, the mentors’ phones were unreachable as they also needed to move to a particular spot in the village where they could get a connection. We were a little afraid but deliberate in our quest to reach the girls, and refused to entertain the thought of heading back. We had heard stories about how the girls of this village were organising to support each other through a fish-farming business, and nothing was to beat hearing the girls tell their own story.
When we finally reached the village, we forgot about our hurdles to get there, we were mesmerised about how a group of girls — many of who were already wives and mothers, living in a village with no school, hospital or any form of social amenities — were able to come together and form a safety net and support group for each other through their Girls’ Circle and a business collective that was contributing to making them self-reliant. These girls had sourced inspiration from each other and the characters in the Karo Kura Konection radio drama, and like thousands of girls and mentors in Purposeful Girls’ Circles across the country, they were meeting weekly to listen together.
Everywhere we go in Sierra Leone, Karo Kura Konection is known about and listened to. We see girls breaking barriers in their communities, despite the limitations they face in their everyday lives. The radio show is reaching girls in the farthest corners of the country and it’s changing lives — it’s also true for all of us as hosts, as cast, and producers.
Keep a look-out via the Purposeful website for the February 2023 launch of our latest publication, Girl-Centred Media As A Tool for Transformation.