Tackling violence against women and girls in Rohingya community, Bangladesh.
Under NCA’s GBV program in Bangladesh, we have created a pilot radio drama for the Rohingya community working in collaboration with BBC media action, with funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
To inform the drama, we conducted a formative qualitative research study seeking to understand more about Rohingya men and womens’ understanding and attitudes towards child marriage, intimate partner violence and sexual exploitation and abuse.
The study found that intimate partner violence and child marriage are deeply rooted and normalised within the Rohingya community in Cox’s Bazar.
The perceived economic and social benefits of marrying their daughters off early greatly outweigh the risks of child marriage for parents, who have little knowledge of the health risks of early childbirth, and fear social criticism if their daughters are not married within two to three years of going through puberty.
Both Rohingya men and women accept intimate partner violence as a normal part of life, and believe it is the husband’s right to abuse his wife if she does not fulfil her duties. Women rarely speak out about violence against them, for fear they will be socially ostracised and their husbands will remarry, leaving them with no financial stability and no opportunity to remarry.
These findings have clear implications for communications initiatives, including the need to work towards de-normalising gender-based violence, by engaging both male and female audiences in storylines which encourage them to question existing practices and norms.
In our conception phase, the 20-episode radio drama aims to increase knowledge about gender-based violence and raise awareness of support services available for women and girls in the camps. We have completed the drama pilots and are making changes based feedback from the pilot drama audience. Once the contents and the drama facilitation guides are finalised, it will be broadcast through a local radio partner in Bangladesh and reach our target audience through the existing and growing network of 500+ listening groups in 2019. The radio dramas will also be available to the general public to download and are relevant to other organisations working with the Rohingya refugee community.