Aminata Maiga: Voices for Peace (V4P) Partner and Advocate for Women in Media

A Project of
Aminata Maiga (V4P)

Aminata Maiga is a brave woman. In 2012 when northern Mali came under the control of rebel and violent extremist groups, she was the only woman to continue broadcasting in Gao, Mali. Aminata is a journalist, the Director of Radio Koima in Gao, and Vice President of the Gao Women’s Media Network.

Aminata hosts radio programs in her local language, Songhai, and has paved the way for other women to get involved in radio. Her programs help her community, which continues to face violence and insecurity. Aminata’s conviction and belief in the power of journalism gave her the courage to defy threats by extremists on many occasions. Seven months into the occupation of Gao by the armed group, Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), she received an anonymous call during the middle of her show. The caller said jihadists were heading to  Nataa radio station looking for Aminata. She and the radio director fled just before they arrived and ransacked the building. MUJAO declared radio programming was banned in Gao, and Aminata was forced to leave her beloved city.

After the army expelled MUJAO from Gao, Aminata helped put in place the 2015 Peace Accords. In 2016, while returning to Gao from a mission advocating for the role women in the peace process her vehicle was attacked by armed men. She and several others were wounded.

The authorities awarded Aminata’s heroism by appointing her as director of Soni d’Ansongo radio and then of Réseau des Radio Coton de Gao. Aminata’s commitment to promoting women’s participation in governance and communications has led her to collaborate with several international organizations.

As an advocate for development, peace, and social cohesion, I am committed to championing women’s voices in the media. At first, the debates on women-related topics on Gao’s radio stations were only conducted by men. This limited perspective drove me to seek and obtain the radio director’s agreement to host my own broadcasts. With the support of the community, I led debates on themes such as education and other elements critical for our society, and particularly for women.

In July 2018 she distinguished herself during a Voices for Peace (V4P)-hosted panel on the role of civil society in a peaceful election. Aminata delivered a brilliant presentation in the local language on journalism and media ethics during the election period. Since then, she has become a consistent advisor to the Malian media in Gao and Menaka. She is also a critical member of V4P’s Gao Content Advisory Group (CAG), which ensures that radio programs are locally relevant and that the content strategically addresses the underlying issues driving violent extremism.

“Through V4P, I strengthened my identity as a female leader in media and citizen engagement. Media women and local-language radio stations, which can reach a large audience, are now better trained and more confident in their duties. Having more women in media can heal the social fabric and banish hatred, especially in our context of ethnic and social tensions.” Aminata said.

 

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