Africa’s small-scale farmers produce most of the food on the continent. And yet, they are among those most vulnerable to hunger, malnutrition and poverty. But there are lots of low-cost, sustainable farming practices that can help them grow more and better food and enjoy a richer, healthier life. And there’s a simple tool to share those ideas on a grand scale: Radio.
We want to see a world where the work of African farm families brings prosperity and food security to themselves, their communities and their countries. That’s why we work to make sure every small-scale farmer in Africa has access to a radio program that helps them succeed.
Who we are
We are the only international non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to serving African farming families and rural communities through radio.
We currently work with more than 650 radio partners in 40 sub-Saharan African countries to fight poverty and food insecurity through high-quality radio programs that help small-scale African farmers help themselves.
Together, we reach tens of millions of small-scale farmers with life-changing information and opportunities to have a stronger voice in their own development.
What we do
Our mission is to support African broadcasters to provide radio services that share knowledge with and amplify the voices of small-scale farmers, their families, and their communities.
We help African radio broadcasters meet the needs of local small-scale farmers and their families in rural communities through radio programs that are informative, interactive, and entertaining. We do this through a range of radio resources and training opportunities and by working directly with select broadcasting partners on impact projects.
Learn more about our plans and priorities by downloading our 2015-2020 strategic intentions.
We develop radio scripts, information packages, a weekly electronic news service, and a special online community called Barza, and share them with thousands of African broadcasters. They, in turn, use these resources to research, produce and present relevant and engaging programs for their audience of tens of millions of farmers. These resources are:
- aimed at increasing food supplies and improving nutrition and health;
- simple, safe, affordable and practical;
- ecologically sound and environmentally sustainable;
- suitable for communication by radio;
- proven useful and transferable within the developing world; and
- appropriate to both female and male small-scale farmers.
We provide training services to broadcasters, including direct in-station training, distance education and custom workshops to help them meet a higher standard of farm radio services. All training is directly targeted toward the practical needs and realities of broadcasters – as they do their work. We help radio stations measure the quality of their farm radio services, and take steps to improve them, by appraising their programs against a set of standards we call the V.O.I.C.E. standards.Learn more
We work with partner radio stations to plan and deliver special radio campaigns and programs that have a specific impact on a development challenge such as soil erosion or banana bacterial wilt. Programs such as Participatory Radio Campaigns have been proven to increase farmers knowledge of improved farming practices, help them make decisions about whether to adopt the improvements, and realize the benefits of introducing these practices on their farms.
Through more than 50 outcome evaluation surveys of African farmers in our intervention areas, we have found that one of our typical interactive radio programs about agriculture is listened to regularly by 40 to 60 per cent of potential listeners (depending on the country and region) and on average leads to 20 per cent of listeners applying new, more productive practices on their farms.
Furthermore, we have estimated across eight large multi-country projects that it costs about 1 CAD (0.75 USD) for each farmer that applies a better practice on their farms as a result of listening to a FRI-supported educational radio series.
Learn more by visiting our publications page.
- Equitable Development:
We encourage social and economic change that is beneficial to small-scale farmers and farming families and that is gender inclusive and respectful of cultural diversity.
- Community Self-Reliance:
We encourage community self-reliance and control of local development. We respect local cultures and the voices and decisions of farmers and their communities.
- Sharing Knowledge:
We encourage innovation and shared learning by exchanging knowledge.
- Use of Media:
We support the use of radio and its integration with new media technologies to ensure that knowledge is shared with the widest appropriate audience.
We collaborate with a diverse range of broadcasters and other stakeholders to make our work effective.
- Integrity and Solidarity:
We encourage journalistic activity that is characterized by accuracy, fairness and balance. We defend media freedom.
- Environmental Sustainability:
We support practices, policies and technologies that promote sustainable and equitable development. We promote the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity for the benefit of all.
- International Solidarity:
We favour trade and aid policies that support the efforts of small-scale farmers to create sustainable rural livelihoods
Our commitment to gender equality
Farm Radio International is committed to promoting gender equality in all of our work.
We equally value the contribution of women and men farmers to their families, to agriculture and rural life, and to their societies. We equally value the contribution of men and women broadcasters to rural communities and to broadcasting. In all of our activities we will support both women and men in the pursuit of the equal enjoyment of rights, responsibilities, opportunities, resources and rewards, and we will give equal weight to the perceptions, interests, needs and priorities of both women and men. Read the policy.