Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Today the fellowship program “Youth Women in Community Media and Journalism” received the UN World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Prize 2016 for Media. Thanks to the program, 59 women from rural parts of Bangladesh were trained to become journalists over the past two years.

The project is an initiative by the Bangladesh NGO Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) and Free Press Unlimited. According to the jury, the project has contributed significantly to the empowerment of women in Bangladesh. By the production of their reports, the women have given an insight into the extensive problems that millions of Bangladeshis face in remote areas.

As a result of their reports, action has been taken to prevent child marriages, local budgets have been discussed with a wider range of stakeholders and special rapporteurs have been appointed to prevent domestic violence.

The prize was collected by Bazlur Rahman, CEO of BNNRC, Dessi Damianova, program manager at Free Press Unlimited, and Protiva Banerjee, former participant and presently coordinator of the program.

Giving a voice to all women

“We are extremely proud that this project was awarded with this prize,” says Ruth Kronenburg, Director of Operations at Free Press Unlimited. “The impact of this project goes beyond the women that received the training. With their reports these women give a voice to all women in Bangladesh and they bring attention to the problems of the population in rural areas.”

The women each received a three-months training, in cooperation with 14 community radio stations in Bangladesh. They were supported by a mentor. In the last two years the women produced 688 radio programs in total, and they wrote 472 articles for local newspapers. The articles were both about strengthening the position of women as well as the problems that the women struggle with in their daily lives. Of the 59 women, 22 currently have a paid job.

Shahrin Jui, a 20-year old participant who works for Radio Borendro in the north of Bangladesh: “I was born and raised in a family plagued with religious bigotry and superstitions. No woman before me here has stepped out of the house, let alone has a job. Coming from that family, and becoming a journalist today - it's like a dream.”

UN-Award-Initiative-BNNRC-Women-Bangladesh

Bazlur Rahman, Dessi Damianova and Protiva Banerjee with the UN WSIS Prize 2016 for Media.