FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania / Ottawa, Canada – June 28, 2013 – Women farmers are the backbone of agriculture in Africa, involved in every stage of food production, from sowing and weeding to harvesting and selling crops at the market.
Research shows that women who have greater access to extension services and other resources are better able to contribute to the food security of their families and communities. Yet a recent study by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization found that only 5% of farmers who use agricultural extension services worldwide are women. In Tanzania, approximately 55% of agricultural work is carried out by women, but only about 15% of extension workers are female. This can deter women from getting the information they need, especially when working alone in the field.
At least 75% of households in developing countries have a radio, making it one of the best ways to reach farmers across Africa. However, to effectively reach female farmers, radio programs must be designed with them in mind.
“To serve women farmers, we need to listen to and respond to their unique needs,” says Karen Hampson, Senior Program Officer at the FRI office in Tanzania. “This means featuring topics that interest them, broadcasting at times that are convenient for them, and including their voices in our programs.”
While FRI designs all of its projects to be relevant and accessible to both men and women farmers, several place particular focus on the needs of women farmers. The women-farmer-focused projects to be showcased at the African First Ladies Summit as part of the newly launched Her Farm Radio initiative include:
1. The My Children radio drama: Being aired in six languages by ten Ugandan radio stations, this multi-episode radio drama educates listeners about the nutritional benefits of the orange-fleshed sweet potato as the story’s heroine struggles to nourish her family through her small plot of land.
2. Demand-Driven Participatory Radio Campaigns: This project asks women farmers in Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda to share their specific information needs regarding nutrition and climate-smart agriculture, linking them with relevant research, results, inputs, services, and markets.
3. FarmQuest: This award-winning project encourages Malian youth, and young women especially, to consider farming as a livelihood through a reality radio program that follows six contestants who are competing to be named “Mali’s best new farmer.”
We lend our expertise in farm radio broadcasting to this project focused on improving maternal, newborn, and child health in Burkina Faso.
5. CHANGE (Climate Change Adaptation in Northern Ghana Enhanced): Run in partnership with Canadian Feed the Children, this project provides tools and training to northern Ghana’s farmers, primarily women, to help them adapt to the increasingly severe effects of climate change in the region.
FRI is one of only four organizations to be highlighted at the event. Tune into the live webcast of the Summit at www.bushcenter.org/live and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #investinwomen. FRI will be featured at approximately 12:30 p.m. (East African Time) on July 2, 2013.
About Farm Radio International
Farm Radio International is a Canadian charity working with more than 460 radio broadcasters in 38 African countries to fight poverty and food insecurity. We help African broadcasters meet the needs of local small-scale farmers and their families in rural communities by providing broadcaster resources such as information and resource packages, broadcaster training to help develop a higher standard of farm radio services, and impact programming to plan and deliver special radio campaigns and programs that address specific development challenges.
For more information, please visit our website at www.farmradio.org.
About Her Farm Radio
All FRI initiatives are designed to be accessible and relevant to both men and women. However, we recognize that women’s unique role in society must be met with programming that enables them to access, share, and interact with the information they need to increase food security for their families. Her Farm Radio was developed to highlight projects that place particular focus on the voice and knowledge needs of women farmers.
To learn more about FRI and Her Farm Radio, or to arrange interviews with individuals in Canada and across Africa involved in our work, please contact:
Kevin Perkins, Executive Director, Farm Radio International
1404 Scott Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 4M8
Tel: 1-613-203-4443, 1-613-761-3658, or 1-800-267-8699 x3658
About the African First Ladies Summit
Taking place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, July 2-3 2013, the Summit brings together African First Ladies, government officials, private organizations, NGOs, and academics to discuss best practices that can reap sustainable, replicable results that benefit women and strengthen society. To learn more about the Summit, please visit www.bushcenter.org/first-ladies-initiative/african-first-ladies-summit.