Learning from each other and the radio as a community listening group

After growing enset for the past eight years, Tagesech Belete, 23, has gained much of her farming knowledge from experience. But when Kembata Community Radio launched a participatory radio campaign, she knew it was an opportunity for her to gain more expertise.

“I hope the radio program will inform us on improved production techniques. I also expect that the radio program will promote productive and disease resistant seedlings,” said Tagesech.

Enset is a staple crop in the densely populated district of Kedida Gamila. Enset, also known as the false banana, is a major source of food and income for Tagesech’s family.

“I have sold kocho and bulla [food stuffs that enset yields] for years. I feed byproducts for cattle. With the income I earn from enset, I send my children to schools and even, I have built a sheet-roofed house,” she said.

In an effort to make the most of this learning opportunity, Tagesech founded Rohobot, a women’s community listening group in her village in Kedida Gamila woreda of Kembarta zone, Ethiopia.

Listening in groups creates a better understanding of the new practices discussed on the radio, said Tagesech. By discussing each episode in a group, farmers can share experiences, ask each other questions and ensure everyone understood important lessons from the broadcast. This discussion gives farmers an opportunity to weigh the risks and benefits of trying a new farming technique and decide if they will take action.

Community listening groups meet regularly to listen to the broadcast, and are a feature of many of our projects.

“I am gaining skills from the radio program. While listening and discussing with my group, I hope to see improvements in my activities in enset development,” Tagesech said.

The community listening group also creates an opportunity for women to talk about common issues they face, added Tagesech.

Women often face unique issues in farming, as they balance a triple burden of family and community duties, as well as managing their farming plot. By bringing women together, they can offer each other support as well as advice on farming techniques they have found work for them.

The enset participatory radio campaign is part of the developing demand-led interactive farm radio services project, which is a continuation of our successful demand-driven participatory radio campaign project.

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