DILI, March 16, 2011—Today a new behaviour change radio drama was launched highlighting the benefits gained through the education of young women, and the positive impact this has on society as a whole. The Ministry of Education is running the program with assistance from the World Bank, Timor-Leste.
Timor-Leste is experiencing a high drop-out rate of girls in high school and university. Only 52 percent of women over the age of 15 are literate compared to 65 percent of men. In rural areas particularly, traditional gender roles place emphasis on domestic responsibilities for women. The safety of girls moving away from the family home to attend university is also a common concern for many parents.
The radio drama will focus on the importance of access to education for young women. It will look especially at the transition from high school to university and emphasise the benefits of higher education to women as individuals, to their families, and to Timorese society as a whole. This will be done through illustrating the advantages educated women can provide to families while directly addressing the important roles parents and families play in supporting women’s education.
''Young people are the future of the country and we need to invest in their education so there are no missed opportunities for them and for the nation as a whole. And special attention needs to go to girls education; they are half of the future and as future mothers will play an especially important role in helping meet some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)" said Luis Constantino, Country Manager for Timor-Leste.
The eight-part series will centre on the journey of Anastasia, a bright young woman who lives in a village in Oecussi district. Anastasia hopes to pursue further education after completing secondary school. The drama will explore issues concerning the financing of Anastasia’s education, the great distance to be travelled to attend university, her domestic responsibilities, and above all the importance of support from her family.
Through Anastasia – and indeed all of the characters in the drama – listeners will be able to hear directly about the benefits of education for young women and their families in rural areas.
The program can be heard for the next eight weeks on Radio Timor Kmanek (RTK) every Wednesday at 4pm and again on Fridays at 4pm.