Sharing Knowledge, Giving Voice

Birhanu Kindu: Always improving his skills to better support farmers

Birhanu Kindu, like many broadcasters, is highly educated, with a diploma in language and a degree in sociology and social anthropology. But he also credits training from Farm Radio International for the development of his skills as a radio broadcaster.
Birhanu works with Amhara Radio and FM Bahir Dar 96.9 in Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia, producing many farm radio programs, in particular programming that is part of our “Scaling up Ethiopian staples” project.
Birhanu has been trained to broadcast participatory radio campaigns (PRCs): 16-week campaigns that allow farmers to learn about, discuss, decide whether to implement a new agricultural practice, and then provide information to support farmers in the adoption of this new technique.
Birhanu has conducted PRCs on wheat and teff. “While running the PRCs, I noticed an increase in listeners and their participation, and I was excited to see farmers gain knowledge that helped them try and use modern farming methods and learn how to profit from their produce,” he said.
Birhanu is always striving to improve his program, with the benefit of FRI training to guide him. “The training also helped me to always think about my program critically and professionally: How participatory is my farmer radio program? Is it gender-balanced? Does it accurately reflect local language and culture? How important are the issues I’m broadcasting?”
To ensure his program features the voices of farmers, Birhanu travels to the field to gather farmers’ feedback and airs live discussions to which farmers can call in. Birhanu says farmers have told him that their livelihood was mostly hand-to-mouth before learning and adopting new farming technologies discussed on Birhanu’s farming program. Now, these farmers are able to produce more and gain more income.
Birhanu continues to look for training opportunities, participating in our Farmer program e-course September to December 2014 to continue to improve his skills.
This dedication to farm radio broadcasting is why Birhanu was one of the eight outstanding broadcasters nominated for the 2015 George Atkins Communications Award. The award is presented each year to an individual that demonstrates overall programming excellence in responding to small-scale farmers’ needs as well as commitment to Farm Radio International.