Alice and Geoffrey Mwaba’s romance was a whirlwind. The two met in the streets of Tazara township in Zambia when Alice was 18 and Geoffrey was 24, marrying within a year. Their first child arrived that same year, and another five children eventually followed.
Trouble started a few years into their relationship when financial challenges arose. Costs to put their children through school mounted, and work was slow for Geoffrey, who sold roofing sheets in Shangayi Market. Additionally, critical of Alice staying out late with friends and relatives, Geoffrey went to his own friends for advice and was encouraged to “discipline” her.
What initially began as verbal abuse gradually turned physical. “The first beating happened when Geoffrey openly cited that his friends told him that I was not a good wife,” Alice recalled. Alice did not report the abuse to authorities, as it was against her understanding of what good wives were required to do. For some time, she suffered in uncertain silence – friends knew of the instability in the Mwaba household, but chose to avoid them instead of intervene.
The couple’s struggles went on until they found PMC’s radio show, Kwishilya (“Over the Horizon”).
Kwishilya began airing in January of 2019 and seeks to provide thrilling storylines while addressing issues core to daily life for Zambians, including family planning, malaria, HIV, nutrition, and notably, gender-based violence.
Alice was the first in the Mwaba family to hear about Kwishilya, advertised on Mpika Radio Station. From the start, she was hooked. She became an avid listener to the show, and encouraged her husband to listen with her. Since February 2019, the two have been tuning in regularly to the twice-a-week broadcast.
Kwishilya has had a significant impact on their lives and their marriage. When asked how the radio show has influenced them, Geoffrey said, “the program contained so much educational information that has helped us live better together as a couple and as parents. The fighting has stopped, and our relationship is being nurtured in a more loving environment.”
Thanks to Kwishilya, the couple have learned how to communicate positively with each other when challenges arise. Quarrels are settled separately from their children, and Geoffrey and Alice discuss matters calmly – no longer escalating to yelling or physical confrontations.
“Every disagreement in our home [previously] turned into either physical or verbal abuse, but now the fighting has stopped and my home is a much happier place to live in,” said Alice.
Population Media Center’s work has improved not only their lives, but also the lives of those around them; their children, formerly subdued, are much more expressive, and friends come to visit more often and even spend time listening to Kwishilya with Alice and Geoffrey. Knowing how helpful it can be, Alice recommends the show to any friends who fight with their husbands.
“Together, we learned from the [program] how to resolve problems without resorting to being abusive,” Geoffrey said. And now, they’re paying it forward.
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