Indigenous women use tech to voice their issues

The Centre for Independent Journalism joined TakeBacktheTech last year to commemorate the 16-day Campaign to end Gender Violence by encouraging communities to make their own audio programmes. Here, S. Thanam reports on the women from Kg. Sungai Judah who uploaded their own programme on domestic violence.





Santey anak Degu, a primary school teacher in Carey Island, Klang, has found a new interest: sound editing. She is among the eight women from an indigenous community called Mah Meri living just an hour from Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur who have started making audio programmes, focusing on women's rights.

Santey and her friends participated in a training by the Centre for Independent Journalism on radio production since August 2006 and have produced several programmes on domestic violence and family planning.


“The training has provided a new skill and more information on women's rights and the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women).

“It has also exposed me to becoming a reporter because I now have to prepare questions, record interviews, edit the sounds and upload the content on a website,” said Santey. She has been featured in a UNICEF project on sharing indigenous folklores with children in schools (

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Santey encourages the women in her community to learn the tech tools





Santey is happy that the training has created awareness among other women in the community on women’s rights. The Mah Meri is one of the many indigenous tribes in Malaysia, with about 1,000 living in the island of Pulau Carey. Most of the women are involved in handicraft production, farming and other small businesses.

Last year, the radio team from Pulau Carey joined in the 16-day Activism to End Gender Violence by uploading their content using Youtube on to a dedicated site called Take Back the Tech (, a project by the Association for Progressive Communications, Women's Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP). The 16-day campaign is celebrated all over the world from November 25 until December 10 to raise public awareness on gender violence.

Santey and two of her friends spent half a day on 7 December 2007 to upload their audio recording onto CIJ's website and have been converted into a Youtube programme ( They chose to upload an interview about domestic violence in the rural areas. Besides this activity, they were also briefed on the 16-day activism, its objective and impact.

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Women uploading their audio file using WordPress





The audio project by CIJ is made possible with generous support from the Global Fund for Women, and has provided a good opportunity to empower women through communication skills and channels. CIJ also works with women from other communities on audio production.

For inquiries, please contact S. Thanam at +603 4024 9840 (Malaysia) or send an email to us using our contact form.