In 2005 Wadi helped to set up the first women and youth radio station in Iraqi-Kurdistan. Since then Dangue Nwe is broadcasting in Halbja.
When Radio Dange Nwe went on air, the idea of community-based radio stations was completely new in Northern Iraq when WADI encouraged and supported the establishment of an independent community radio station for women and youth in Halabja Today, the radio is an integral part of cultural and political life in the community offering not only regular information and discussions on issues that matter to youth, but also a café as a popular meeting place.
After intensive preparation, the media channel for women and youth opened in Halabja in 2005. The program of Radio Dange Nwe is autonomously prepared by young Halabjian women and men that had participated in WADI’s women empowerment programs before, and are familiar with local problems of youth and women. The radio provides the region with independent news, music, entertainment and reports about gender and youth specific issues. Themes of the program include: human rights, democracy, domestic violence, partnership, divorce, forced marriages, FGM and “honour killings”. Information is provided about health care, pregnancy, contraception and childcare.
Radio Dange Nwe empowers women and youth by focusing on:
• disseminating independent and community relevant information
• raising awareness about daily problems of youth and women
• advancing women’s rights in public opinion
• representing women and young people.
• giving a voice to women’s experiences
• integrating women and youth peacefully in community based networks
• motivating and encouraging youth and women in taking active part in community life,
public debates and decision making process.
• raising public awareness and knowledge about social problems
Radio Dange Nwe is one of the few free time activities available for Halabja´s youth. The radio’s team and equipment have already enabled another local initiative to develop: the translation and dubbing of films by young people from Halabja.
Since 2011 Radio Dange Nwe is more than a radio. It became a meeting point when the media activists set up a youth café in the 200 squaremeter garden belonging to the venue. Besides coffee, the place offers cultural events, literature readings and workshops. Sales of a small bookstore provide some income for the radio.
A Voice for Women and Refugees
By focusing on women and youth Radio Dange Nwe is able to raise awareness about their daily and often neglected problems. Giving a voice to women, and helping to raise their status in public opinion.
As the Sulaimania skyline fades and the snow-capped mountains separating Iraq and Iran draw nearer, the signal of Iraq’s first radio broadcast made by and for refugees emerges from static.
“This is Dange Nwe Radio, refugee-to-refugee segment, from 8am to 12 noon, broadcast in Kurmanji and Arabic,” a female broadcaster announces in a southern Iraqi accent. The early-morning programme includes Kurdish poetry, classic love songs by a Christian Lebanese singer, and pop music more familiar to listeners in Baghdad than in northern Iraq.
The new refugee radio programme on Dange Nwe (New Voice) Radio is staffed exclusively by Syrian and Iraqi women displaced by the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and the war in Syria.
The four DJs tailor their programming to the thousands of families who have fled the ongoing violence and sought refuge in this rural corner of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
“All the programmes we air – whether they are news, politics, health, or music – have an audience within the refugee community,” Hevy Izat Ahmed, who is originally from Kobane, told Al Jazeera. “We know what news refugees need to hear, about aid deliveries, or about what’s happening at home.”
It October 2016 was rewarded with the Raif Badawi Price for Courageous Journalism for this program
In the reasoning of the seven -, it says: “We admire the courage and commitment of the young women who not hesitate to address critical issues and with their program want to support other refugees’’.
Former German Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, Member of the Executive Board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, expressly welcomes the decision of the jury: “The four young women from Iraq and Syria are resolutely taking their future into their own hands, thus showing many other female listeners of their radio program They are an inspiring model that gives women an important orientation in this situation, which is so difficult for them, in their huge refugee camps. Their radio project stands for a promise: freedom through education’’.