When an Iraqi woman is threatened with deadly violence in her home, where can she turn to for information and help?
For many, the answer was Al Mousawaat (Equality) radio, the human rights radio station run by MADRE’s partner group, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq. With a diverse range of programming – including skits, interviews and call-in sessions – the station was a critical voice for Iraqis whose rights were violated, who were facing life-threatening violence, or who were simply hungry to hear a voice calling for human rights and democracy for all Iraqis.
The radio station was the only one of its kind. It provided lifesaving information for women in danger on how to access OWFI’s shelters, counseling support and other vital services. And it educated Iraqi communities on the human rights of women, LGBT people and other marginalized people. With every broadcast, it helped to transform harmful attitudes and practices that instigate violence and stigmatize survivors.
But in 2014, the government shut down Al Mousawaat radio, along with over 20 other social justice-oriented stations. For the past two years, MADRE and OWFI have been advocating relentlessly to get Al Mousawaat’s lifesaving messages for peace, tolerance and human rights back on the air.
And we have great news! OWFI has found a space on a new frequency that reaches 98% of the country, to air Al Mousawaat radio programs. And we just resumed broadcasts!
“We are pleased to have the secular, feminist programming of Al Mousawat radio back on the air!’ OWFI shared. “With the support of MADRE, our sisters and allies in New York, we have arranged for OWFI programming to be broadcast on Radio NAWA one hour each week.”
Al Mousawaat now reaches over 10 million people throughout Iraq and Kurdistan every week. Now, women in desperate need of save haven will know where to find OWFI’s women’s shelters. LGBT people will know that they have allies. And lives will be saved.