Amplifying rural Africans’ voices in their community and on the world stage

At Farm Radio International, we amplify the voices, perspectives and experiences of rural women, men and youth, especially the most marginalized, by sharing their voices on air and providing platforms for their stories.

We deliberately make space for women in our programs through hosting women-only community listening groups, providing gender training to broadcasters and more. By calling in to radio programs or appearing as guests on shows, women can share their agricultural knowledge on an equal footing with men. Through radio dramas, they also can express themselves openly and safely about challenges they are facing, such as violence at home, in a way that encourages their husbands to listen.

On a larger scale, Farm Radio listens to and amplifies farmers’ voices through our On Air Dialogues. This innovative radio approach relies on Farm Radio’s Uliza Interactive suite of digital services, which combines radio with mobile phones to enable listeners to communicate and exchange information immediately with their radio station quickly, easily and free of charge.

Listeners can use any mobile phone to leave a missed call (or “beep”) on a number advertised on the radio program. Uliza then returns the call, presenting the caller with several multiple-choice questions and an open-ended question.

In a recent On Air Dialogues poll about climate change, we received more than 122,000 poll question responses and 9,300 thoughtful voice messages from rural people in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. We analyzed the responses to shed light on key themes by country, age and gender. Women made up roughly one-third of all respondents in both countries, and 52 per cent were youth.

That’s not where it ends. Equipped with thousands of individual perspectives — perspectives that aren’t always heard — we made sure these rural people were heard by policy and decision makers at COP27.

When farmers’ voices and perspectives are amplified, we can base decisions, policies and programs on what people really need and want. Learning from farmers’ vast knowledge and experience can bring the world one step closer to resolving the impacts of climate change, and make sure solutions are equitable, sustainable and productive for all.

This blog post is the fourth in a series about how Farm Radio International lives our values (respect, include, listen, amplify, deliver and learn) in our work. Read our full statement of values here.

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