Sharing Knowledge, Giving Voice

Celebrating our 100th script package

In May 1979, our first script package was mailed to 34 broadcasters in South Asia, Latin America and Africa. The scripts covered a number of important issues, including pest management, raising rabbits and feeding cattle. In addition to paper scripts, the package included audio recordings on cassettes (remember those?).
Since then, Farm Radio International has changed its name from Developing Countries Farm Radio Network and has expanded its script packages into “Farm Radio Resource Packs” containing backgrounders, “broadcaster how-to” guides, and other useful documents. While FRI has concentrated its focus on sub-Saharan Africa, we now have partnerships with more radio stations than ever.
Thirty-five years after that first script package was mailed out, our 100th farm radio resource pack has been sent to 578 broadcasting partners in 38 countries. It is also available on-line, where it is accessed by thousands of other groups and individuals seeking to serve small-scale farmers with information.
Our 100th package features scripts on fish farming, improved vegetable production and how to hold officials accountable in interviews.
This package also includes one of FRI founder George Atkins’ original scripts from the very first script package — a script on how to build an improved maize storage crib. Maize is the most important staple crop in many African countries, making a script on maize storage relevant even after 35 years.
Over 100 issues, our resource packs have changed in many ways. Most items are now written by African writers, with a focus on interviews and dramas that can be easily adapted by broadcasters based on local needs and interests.
“We relate the issue in the script to the local context — highlighting relevant farming technologies being promoted,” one broadcaster told the African Rural Radio Program Analysis research team.
Vijay Cuddeford, managing editor of the resource packs for the past nine years, said he thinks the resource packs are useful because they are informative, relevant, use clear language, are written in a format that is easily understood, and are models of good interviewing and broadcast practices.
The resource packages also incorporate more than just scripts. Since December 2012 they have included how-to documents that help broadcasters build important skills, such as how to establish community listening groups, how to create ear-catching promos and how to conduct Internet research.
“The how-to docs come from our understanding that one of the primary needs of African broadcasters is training on broadcasting skills,” said Vijay. “While we are able to provide direct in-station training to stations involved in projects, and e-course trainings on broadcaster skills, the broadcaster how-tos reach a wider audience.”
This great resource for broadcasters is made possible because of you and other Canadian supporters, as well as Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, Anne Burnett, Canadian Auto Workers — Social Justice Fund, Donner Canadian Foundation, Harbringer Foundation, The McCain Foundation, and the Water Integrity Network.
Check out the 100th script package.