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Southern Region of Ethiopia: Nineteen year old Abdul Mewuded is a leader of a Radio Listeners Group on a radio serial drama called Nekakat (Cracked) in the Sankuru Woreda (district) of Silite Zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region.

Nekakat is being broadcast by the Population Media Center-Ethiopia with support from UNFPA as part of a five-year programme on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practices funded by the Government of Canada in selected districts across Ethiopia.

The Nekakat Radio Serial Drama which is being broadcast on three national and FM radio stations in the country is reaching many communities contributing in addressing negative social norms and harmful practices such as FGM and child marriage affecting millions of women and girls in Ethiopia.

The Radio Listeners Group such as Abdul’s is integrated within school-based clubs to strengthen the efforts towards abandonment of negative social norms and harmful practices such as FGM and child marriage.  
Abdul who is a Grade 9 student at Alem Gebeya Secondary School says he was assigned as the leader of the Radio Listeners Group on Nekekat by his district Women, Children and Youth Affairs Office. The listeners group involves ten members in the age category 15 to 29, half of whom are girls. “The messages of the radio serial drama address FGM, child marriage and GBV. The drama is well received due to its entertaining nature. I am confident that the integration of the Radio Listeners Group with school-based clubs will contribute in reaching a large audience within the remaining broadcast period,” Adul says.

The Nekakat radio serial drama is now widely heard in Abdul’s area strengthening the effort being exerted in the fight against gender-based violence, FGM and child marriage.

Abdul and members of his listeners group are now actively participating in the fight against FGM, child marriage, and gender-based violence and are promoting the use of family planning in their respective communities.

“The entertainment and educational elements of the Nekakat radio serial drama are very helpful in the fight against FGM and child marriage in and around Sankuru woreda,” notes Abdul. He and members of his listeners’ group are using the school mini-media channel to educate the student population in the fight against FGM and child marriage.

Abdul says he will be working further in integrating the Radio Listeners Group with different school-based clubs such as the girls’, agriculture, ethics, and science clubs. Each club meets regularly and the episodes of the drama will be on the agenda for discussion in all clubs.

The members of the Radio Listeners Group such as that of Abdul are also sharing the educational messages of Nekakat to the public at market places and other community gathering platforms to contribute in positively changing attitudes and social norms on practices putting women and girls in harm’s way.

“I am grateful to the Population Media Center and UNFPA for the extensive broadcast of the Nekakat radio serial drama. The topics in each episode have powerful messages that teach the public about the negative impacts of harmful practices on the lives of women and girls. The broadcast of Nekakat will enhance our efforts against harmful practices in and around our woreda including rural areas,” recounts Abdul.