Women dramatize the violence of camp life

IRIN Radio’s producer Jackie Christie hands a wind-up radio to women in Unyama camp, Gulu district, northern Uganda, so they can listen to the radio drama they helped write and dramatize.
(IRIN Radio )

Camps set up to protect people displaced by the war in northern Uganda have become the backdrop for a less overt, though equally devastating, kind of conflict. Gender-based violence stalks the women and girls as they struggle to cope with the degrading conditions imposed by the overcrowded camps.

Bobi and Unyama camps in Gulu district are typical of the sprawling settlements, intended as temporary, but ending up as home to thousands of families for the better part of two decades.

Almost every woman in Bobi and Unyama has a story to tell of being a victim, or survivor, of sexual, domestic, or economic violence or abuse.

IRIN Radio worked in 2007-8 with women’s groups in the two camps on a unique project, enabling women and girls to share their stories with a wider audience using radio drama, and empowering the women to address the violence they experience on a daily basis.

Listen to the dramas
Ladwar Lyec Matek, Lyec ma bene Neke (The elephant hunter is killed by his own prey) -16 episodes
Larama Ramo Boo ki Tojo (The lazy man who seeks comfort in other people’s houses) - 18 episodes

Working with a professional playwright and a local radio producer, the women were trained in the art of writing and acting for radio. The training helped the women to identify strong story lines from their own personal testimonies, and to develop a drama series in short episodes ideal for radio broadcast.

The results are two lively and compelling radio drama series in Luo language.

From Bobi camp, we present Ladwar Lyec Matek, Lyec ma bene Neke, (“The elephant hunter is killed by his own prey”) in 16 episodes, and from Unyama, Larama Ramo Boo ki Tojo, (“The lazy man who seeks comfort in other people’s houses”) in 18 episodes.

The courage of these women to speak out about their dehumanizing experiences in the camps has helped break the silence for other women and girls. It is also a powerful warning to the perpetrators of violence and abuse.

The two dramas are being serialized on Saturday and Sunday mornings on Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu. CDs have also been widely distributed to other radio stations in Uganda for broadcast. It is the first time for many stations to address the conditions and concerns of the huge though marginalized displaced communities in their midst.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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