Unity Radio Listening Club
The club started with ten girls in Gulumba. They gather on blankets strewn below the greenery of Malawi on Saturday mornings. Brought together by Lucy Bright Morris, who understands the power and agency provided by AGE Africa’s weekly radio program Ticheze Atsikana (Let’s CHAT!), this diverse group of girls started a society they named Unity Radio Listening Club.
Membership is free– and since March, it has expanded to include 30 (with a waitlist!) determined girls as young as ten years old. Some members are in school, and some are eager to return. Some have faced early marriage, and some are already mothers themselves. ALL are steadfastly working toward brighter futures by listening to the insightful Ticheze Atsikana programs broadcast on Mzati Community Radio station in Mulanje.
Lucy, a District Officer for AGE Africa, was the first girl from Gulumba village to go to college and the first woman to have a career outside the home. Today, she’s a role model for every young girl who catches a glimpse of the power of knowledge and how it can lift her from an assumed and antiquated position of subjugation to a strong woman of influence within her community. Originally an AGE Africa secondary school scholar, Lucy succeeded at becoming one of the 17.9% of girls who complete high school in Malawi. With the financial support and life skills that AGE Africa provides our scholars, she further continued her education and defied the odds by completing university. It wasn’t easy for Lucy; she’s a trailblazer, and she endured the ostracization that often accompanies such leaders. But today, those naysaying voices have been quieted. She’s a beacon of inspiration, and behind her, there is a line of admiring young girls following in her wake.
The Unity Radio Listening Club tunes in each week on a radio borrowed from Lucy’s dad. Ticheze Atsikana’s topics range from how to navigate negative peer pressure to honest talk about how a girl’s body changes during puberty, from leadership development to the benefits of finishing high school and avoiding child marriage and early pregnancy. Simply listening, though, isn’t a part of this club’s identity. Lucy leads the girls through discussions and activities to solidify and make personal the information they just heard. They talk together, they laugh together, they sing together, and together, they have created a community. They have built a reinforcement-network of positive peer relationships. These girls are the future of Gulumba Village. They are its future leaders, teachers, doctors, and mothers. They are learning how vast the possibilities are. They balance on the precipice between girl child and grown woman, and with Lucy and AGE Africa’s Ticheze Atsikana guidance, each one of them is closer to discovering just who they will become.