Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Edutainment Change Agent in Mozambique

Where does a media push fit in to educate and move people's opinions on domestic violence? According to the moderators at "Beyond Struggles and Inequalities: The Resistances and Alternatives of Women and Girls", it belongs in Mozambique as part of an overall effort to eradicate domestic violence against women through policy and personal change. N'weti, a Mozambican non-for-profit, launched a multimedia edutainment campaign entitled "Say NO to Domestic Violence" and shared their efforts at the 2016 Commission on the Status of Women.

Prior to 2009, domestic violence in Mozambique was not an actual crime, and by many measures, was an acceptable form of marital interaction. Through a concerted effort to sway public and government opinion on the subject, Law 29/2009 was officially put on the books and not only is domestic violence now a crime, but the state was made responsible for protecting women and holding perpetrators accountable.

Though the law has now been on the books for seven years, it had been an ongoing struggle to keep the thought of passing such a relevant issue. The challenge to lawmakers has been advocated for since about 1993, and N'weti's media run including television, radio, public debates and online outreach was instrumental in creating an understanding of how the tradition and potential law against it was viewed.

As part of a larger overall strategy for women's rights which included gender economics, violence, political representation/participation, and reproductive empowerment, N'weti brought the issue to the forefront and challenged assumptions based on narratives from many past generations. Though there are remaining obstacles to overcome, the efforts in this case support the strength of large-scale multimedia outreach as a tool to change the path of women's and human rights.

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