Farm Radio International has been using radio signals to communicate information on lifesaving practices and programs for communities across Africa. Their programs discuss matters such as maternal health, nutrition, and agriculture. They have recently partnered with the African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI) and World University Service Canada to evaluate the results of one of their unique programs. The radio program seeks to encourage sustainable practices in farming by conducting on-air interviews with farmers, who are using the techniques themselves. The Participatory Radio Program also brought in farmers to select the topics that the shows would cover ensuring that they are relevant.
The study conducted by AFRRI found that communities whose farmers had participated in the shows adopted 39% of the techniques. Within an estimated catchment area of 40 million people that would indicate an exceptional success for a low-cost, passive capacity-building project. The study also concluded that by implementing tools such as mobile phones that the Participatory Radio Program model could have an even greater impact. It’s easy to see how this model can be adapted to address issues across many different sectors as well.
While the use of public service announcements aren’t uncommon, few programs actively engage their audience by allowing their listeners to assist in the development of their programming. It’s hard to see how this program would be a sufficient medium to transfer more technical lessons to their audience. Without directing people to participate in more direct programming Participatory Radio Programming will be limited to small, everyday lessons that can be easily understood.
To read the results of the study click here.
Farm Radio International