Nazari Mai Zurfi: Raising Community Voices to End Child Marriage
Child marriage affects and violates the rights of women and girls. There is an unfounded belief that when a girl is married off early, she does not have the opportunity to become promiscuous, this is not true as it places a heavy societal burden on young girls and the reality is different as most of these girls have to abandon their education in order to tend to their new families.
The health implications of child marriage are vast ranging from early pregnancies which often times result in Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) or Rector Vaginal obstetric fistula and other reproductive health issues, as these young girls are giving birth at a very tender age when their bodies are not physically able to deliver a fetus. They are also at a higher risk of contracting so many sexually transmitted diseases.
It is unarguable that young Nigerians with internet access have increasingly turned to podcasts in recent years for programming focused on issues they care about, podcasts have become a new dimension to getting daily news as well as offering exciting debates regarding a myriad of topics. Hence, Bridge Connect Africa Initiative (BCAI) with the support from the USAID-funded Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Population and Reproductive Health (PACE) project launched a podcast series, Nazari Mai Zurfi which is aimed at raising community voices on child marriage.
The podcast series consists of 10 thought-provoking episodes which are mapped to spark meaningful conversations on child marriage and stimulate community support to protect girl children in northern Nigeria. The podcast gave survivors an opportunity to share their stories and experiences as child brides with their peers, community members, as well as policymakers. This made them feel seen and their voices heard.
The podcast series was broadcast through community-based listening hubs in rural communities, where access to radio and the internet is difficult, BCAI provided portable speakers with memory card slots. Participants were grouped into cohorts of the same peers to share their stories and have conversations around cultural issues surrounding child marriage, therefore, promoting intergenerational dialogue.
The series was also broadcast on radio stations across three focal states, In Kano state, Arewa radio 93.1FM Kano, In Bauchi state, BRC 94.6FM Bauchi, and in Jigawa, Freedom radio 99.5FM Dutse. It was also disseminated over the internet using podcast publishing channels such as Spotify and Audiomack and across all BCAI social media channels.
You can listen to the Podcast Here