Photo and story credit: Martin Mwape, a Zambian broadcaster from Breeze FM
Masiye Mwale is a small-scale farmer in her thirties. She is a mother of six who lives in the Chipata District of Zambia’s Eastern Province. Before 2011, Masiye found it difficult to meet the needs of her family, especially when it came to sending her children to school.
In 2011, Masiye did some casual work to pay for her children’s school uniforms. Instead of being paid in cash, Masiye was given a used radio as payment because the person she worked for did not have money for her. She initially complained about this payment method, not knowing that this radio would soon change her life.
Using the radio she was given, Masiye started to listen to music and programs on Breeze FM, a local radio station. She became interested in one particular program called Ulimi ndi Malonda (which means Farming is a business). She was soon listening to it every week to learn about practices such as conservation farming, diversification and much more. She then started putting into practice what she was learning through the radio.
Masiye now uses good farming techniques, reducing the amount of weeding she has to do, and keeps goats and chickens as a source of income. The money she has earned through farming has enabled her to buy additional farming tools as well as a motorbike to make it easier to get around. Masiye and her family now eat better food, and she no longer worries about school fees and other household expenses.
In the end, she says that she is happy to have been given a radio instead of money.