We did it! It’s time to ring in a new year and a new decade!
A lot happened in 2019. It was a big year for people around the world, and for us here at Farm Radio International it was no different.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s just a taste of the amazing work our colleagues in sub-Saharan Africa and in Canada got up to this year.
- We celebrated our 40th birthday: This year was a milestone year for Farm Radio International. We celebrated our 40th anniversary this year on May 1st — 40 years to the day when George Atkins, our founder, slid a package of envelopes filled with a wealth of information on farming tips into the mailbox. Those packages would soon arrive in the hands of 34 broadcasters in 26 countries around the world, marking the beginning of our long history.
- We refreshed our mission: It’s hard to be around for 40 years without a few changes. This year we updated our mandate from being focused solely around small-scale farmers and their communities, to one that includes all rural people in Africa, better reflecting the work we are doing outside of agriculture. Our new mission reads: We make radio a powerful force for good in rural Africa—one that shares knowledge, amplifies voices, and supports positive change.
- We reached an estimated 18 million listeners through radio programs: We took the word “scale” to heart this year. By working directly with 131 broadcasting partners on 33 different radio projects in 11 countries, we reached an estimated 18 million listeners through radio programs, resulting in 3.5 million of those listeners improving their farming, nutrition and health practices. Read more in our annual report.
- We published our 500th edition of Barza Wire: In another milestone, we published our 500th edition of Barza Wire this year. Launched 11 years ago, Barza Wire provides over 5,000 subscribers – radio broadcasters, farmers and researchers — with articles and resources designed to help produce interesting and informative radio programs.
- We added 137 broadcasting partners to our network: We added 137 new broadcasting partners to our network this year — bringing our total number of broadcasting partners to 963! Our radio resources team is hard at work ensuring these African broadcasters can access good radio resources, online trainings, e-discussions, and mentorship to support their already-excellent radio programming.
- We launched new award for excellence in broadcasting and gender equality: We launched and awarded the first Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio this year. Named in honour of former board member and CBC broadcaster Liz Hughes, the award recognizes radio programs that address issues of gender equality and create opportunities to share the voices of rural women.
- Started work on our biggest project on gender equality to date: We launched our biggest project on gender to date: the Scaling Her Voice on Air project. Based in four countries in West Africa: Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana, the project aims to bring gender-sensitive information to farming communities to serve women farmers and challenge inequalities between women and men, with the ultimate goal of empowering women as leaders in their own communities.
- Ran 33 different projects on gender, health, and agriculture: We ran projects on gender, health, and agriculture this year. We’re especially pleased to share the results from our FAWET project on Fall armyworm in Ethiopia. The project saw 1.6 million people tune in to radio programs about the invasive species, leading to a reduction of the area of maize damaged by the Fall armyworm in farmers’ fields by 31 per cent.
- Welcomed over 100 broadcasters to our eDiscussion: Over 100 broadcasters and stakeholders from across Africa registered for our e-discussion in either French or English. The discussion brought broadcasters online to learn from each other and talk about the advantages and challenges of collaborating with other stakeholders on their shows.
- Were ranked 2nd in Maclean’s Magazine’s list of top international charities in Canada: Last on our list, we were so proud to be ranked second among international charities by Maclean’s magazine this year. We were also included in the top 20 charities (overall) in Canada this year. We’re humbled by this experience, and we hope we can continue to be transparent, accountable, and, above all, continue the work we know can help change lives through the power of radio.
As we round out our 40th anniversary, we can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring.