Created by the Womanity Foundation, this Arabic radio fiction series (2013-2014) was designed to foster constructive debates on women's rights and their role in society by offering new ideas and perspectives, challenging stereotypes, and providing information and knowledge - all by means of entertainment. Starring Mona Zaki with the soundtrack performed by a Nancy Arjam, Be 100 Ragl I was produced as a radio drama in 30 episodes and aired between March and September 2014 on 11 radio stations (a full list is below) in 9 Arab countries (the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco, Bahrain, and Syria). The goal was to "open up a space for debate on some of the problems faced by women, and at the same time, to focus on their abilities to find solutions and make valuable contributions to their communities," said Antonella Notari Vischer, Executive Director, Womanity Foundation.
Be 100 Ragl told the story of Noha, a young Arab radio journalist who had an under-qualified job as a speaker in a radio station. Noha was a bright and ambitious young woman who decided to politically and socially challenging the establishment. This theme was intertwined with a number of episodes related to Noha's private, family, and professional lives that put under the spotlight the role and the main problems of women in the contemporary Egyptian society. Noha emerged as a positive role model of women's empowerment.
The fiction's topics were discussed in talk shows, public events, and listening and discussion groups organised by partnering radio stations and local organisations. In particular, to further increase the impact of the radio fiction series, in collaboration with the consortium "Pop Culture with a Purpose", Oxfam Novib and their partner Soul City trained and capacitated civil society organisations and women's groups to animate debates in real-life community settings around the problems illustrated by the plot of Be 100 Ragl and to monitor the outcomes of such activities.
Local organisations (see list below) organised listening groups and debates, reaching a diverse audience of women and men who were interested in discussing women's rights.
To listen to the full radio series, click here. It can also be followed on the Be 100 Ragl Facebook page and the Be 100 Ragl website. Also, see Related Summaries below to read about Worth 100 Men (Be 100 Ragl) II.
Questionnaires distributed before and after the discussion group sessions showed a positive change in the participants' mindset. For example, in the Palestinian Territories, there was an increase of 29% (from 63% to 92%) of people who stated "divorce should be an equal right for men and women alike". Furthermore, the respondents who agreed with the following statement "violence against women is justified when it is done to preserve family unity" dropped from 46% to 16% after having listened and discussed the fiction.
In Tunisia, an impact evaluation conducted by Oxfam Novib (see Related Summaries, below) showed that listening and discussing the series significantly increased awareness (participants were more likely to report personally knowing someone who had suffered from violence); changed attitudes on gender equality (participants were also less likely to justify violence against women); and fostered intention to take action (participants were more likely to intend to advise others who suffer from violence to speak out). There was no difference in impact between men and women. Other reflections on impact:
- Overall, Be 100 Ragl I was deemed to be successful in engaging women and men alike in a discussion around women's issues and involved 15-plus organisations in 10 Arab countries.
- As demonstrated by partners' reports, it: created positive synergies across the region; sparked positive debates around many topics related to the role of women in the Arab societies; and reached an estimated 1 million listeners.
- While the presence of the stars (Mona Zaki and Nancy Ajram), the fiction format, and the plot played a key role in attracting and entertaining the audience, conversations on social media, radio talk shows, public events, and the listening clubs contributed to information-sharing and provided socioeconomic and legal contexts to the topics presented and an opportunity for opinion-sharing.
- Comments from partners stressed also the efficacy of the tools as a fresh and non-confrontational way to address social and gender issues.
- Participants to activities, Facebook followers, and the audience reportedly felt free and empowered to share their opinions even when it meant expressing a conservative view, thus opening the way to a dialogue even with the most conservative elements of the society.
Womanity is a private philanthropic foundation established in 2005 in Switzerland and registered in the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, and the United States. It works around the world to empower girls and women to shape their future and accelerate progress in their communities. In 2009, Womanity, in collaboration with the NISAA Broadcasting Company, established NISAA FM, "the first commercial radio station in the Middle East for and by women, broadcasting on FM in the Palestinian territories and throughout the world" from its website.
Production: Global Production.
Radio stations: Radio Nisaa (Palestinian Territories), Radio Yemen Times (Yemen), Radio SouriaLi (Syria), Panorama FM (Saudi Arabia and Bahrain), Radio Aswat (Morocco), Radio Al Mahaba (Iraq), MEGA FM (Cairo, Egypt), Alexhits (Egypt, online), Sound of Sakia (Egypt), and Radio Farat Al Nas and Nashama FM (Jordan).
Listening groups and public events: El Sawy – Culture Wheels (in Cairo), SMPL Media
Oxfam's offices and fields based partners - with the support of UNTF (United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women) and Zonta: Center for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistance (CEWLA, Egypt) and Better Life; Oxfam Novib country office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel (OPTI) in partnership with Women's Affairs Center (WAC) and Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC); Oxfam Novib country office in Yemen in partnership with Abs Development and All Girls Foundation for Development; Oxfam Novib country office in Tunisia.
Capacity building of local organisations: Oxfam Novib and Soul City.
Emails from Antonella Notari Vischer (September 30 2013 and May 13 2014), Katinka Moonen (October 1 2013), and Valentina Di Felice (October 21 2013, November 25 2013, March 12 2014, March 27 2014, May 13 2014, July 30 2014, July 15 2016, and July 22 2016) to The Communication Initiative; and Womanity website, July 15 2016.