Somali refugees, supported a partnership of universities and researchers, have launched podcasts as a unique approach to address partner and domestic violence especially among refugees.

Podcast as a medium of communication has been adopted because it could potentially reach more individuals with up-to-date, evidence-based information in a humanitarian setting than traditional, in-person programming. This is mainly because in refugee camps, such as those in Ethiopia’s Dollo Ado area, internet and mobile networks are poor and often disrupted. The podcasts in MP3 formats are easily shared and require no or limited data.

The project is led and supported by researchers from Addis Ababa University, Fondation Hirondelle and Women and Health Alliance (WAHA) Ethiopia, Foundation Hirondelle and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, are development of these creating podcasts around how to prevent and reduce intimate partner violence (IPV) and domestic violence (DV).

This series of 16-episode podcasts has been added to the Unite for a Better Life series, which started in 2014 as an in-person intervention program in rural Ethiopian communities. They explore issues on how to handle conflict and underlying factors that contribute to intimate partner violence in this setting.

The series identifies behaviours in relationships, introduces strategies to intervene and advice of how to prevent. As a result of the series nearly 90% of men and women reported that their attitude and behaviour changed due to what they learnt at the podcasts.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency there is nearly 26 million refugees around the world who are have fled political persecution, violence, wars or other social and economic hardships. Being a refugee means having less access to food, separated from family, and an increased sense of insecurity and anxiety as they have no clear notion of what the future hold. Being in a vulnerable position makes refugees to experience to greater levels of violence including intimate partner violence due to the lack of support system and disrupted social structures. Such a podcast scheme will help communities to address domestic violence problems early and within the refugee camps settings.

In such settings, displaced people are always on the move leading to suffering from displacement and trauma due to many negative experiences, which are aggravated by poverty. These people experience a shortage of basic needs lead to increased conflicts with women and children experiencing the greatest levels of abuse and violence.

This project empowers individuals to create solutions and to improve the lives of those in the communities. Young Somali refugees at the Dollo Ado refugee camp have been trained and mentored in digital storytelling, audio creation including recording, editing and content production to produce these podcasts.

The main challenge with the production is the difficulty to access the refugees due to the security issues and because of the limited resources. This is being addressed by giving every podcaster a recording kit, with which they can work remotely from everywhere.

Everyone who is part of the group receives financial compensation for their work, and after their training they were provided with certificates to demonstrate their skills and abilities.

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