Extension services in many African countries are poor at best, non-existent at worst and routinely target male farmers. Both male and female farmers need better access to agricultural information that helps them plan for and cope with climate change, and ensure a sufficient supply of nutritious food for their families and communities. This is particularly true for female farmers, who carry primary responsibility for feeding and nourishing their families. While an increasing number of female farmers in rural areas have access to mobile phones and radio, they continue to face challenges in accessing and implementing the knowledge they need to adapt to changing circumstances and ensure food security and nutritional health. Radio provides a space where men and women, farmers and researchers can interact to discuss and address these challenges together.
In 2013, four radio station partners in four countries – Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia – ran Participatory Radio Campaigns (PRCs) that discussed nutrition- and/or gender- sensitive and climate-smart agricultural techniques. The programs reached over two million listeners. In response to the requests of farmers, and with the ongoing support of Irish Aid, these radio stations will receive additional training to develop long-term broadcasts that continue the discussions already begun on air. The reach of this project will also be extended with the addition of four new radio station partners, which will develop four new demand-drive PRCs.
This project is expected to reach 750,000 farmers in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia, with an estimated 100,000 farmers, including 50,000 women, trying a nutrition-sensitive and/or climate-smart technology on their farm.