To say Farm Radio International has been busy of late would be an understatement.
Since November of 2020, Farm Radio International has been at work launching a new project in seven countries across sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to support from the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector, on behalf the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The RECOVER (RELANCE in French) project is a 15-month, €2.9 million ($4.3 million CAD) project designed to encourage and improve agriculture and economic recovery, safely, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic — especially as countries and economies begin to re-open.
Farm Radio International is using interactive radio to reach women and men from rural communities in seven countries with gender-responsive information on specific value chains. Done at a distance, using remote techniques to ensure the safety of everyone involved during the pandemic, the project also addresses hygiene, nutrition, gender equality, and climate change through radio programs.
RECOVER builds on the success of both our COVID-19 Recovery (COVR) project, which supported radio stations in developing radio programs on COVI-19 designed to protect their communities, and our work with the Green Innovation Centre in Nigeria.
Local contexts matter
The RECOVER project includes work on value chains spread across seven countries. Chosen based on the needs of local farmers, in-depth radio programs on good agricultural practices, combined with interactive mobile phone elements, will be produced on as many as five stations per country, with a focus on local value chains.
We’ll also work using distance learning, coaching, and resources, to support as many as 20 stations in each country develop shorter series on better farming practices.
Additionally, Farm Radio International will expand its operations into three new countries, and restart our work in a fourth country.
In West Africa, Farm Radio will be developing and designing radio programs in Cote d’Ivoire on cocoa, cassava and plantain value chains, while in Togo, programs will run on soybean, cashew and groundnut farming practices.
In Zambia, a new country to us in Southern Africa, we will be concentrated on soybean, groundnut and dairy best practices.
We’re also excited to restart our work in Mozambique, where we will be concentrating on two particularly interesting value chains: pigeon pea and baobab trees.
Gender equality and radio
Impacts on health and the economy have not been the only impacts of COVID-19. The impacts of the pandemic has proven particularly gendered. UN Women estimates that 47 million more women will be pushed into extreme poverty in 2021 because of the pandemic. And gender gaps are only projected to widen over the next ten years.
The RECOVER project aims to increase dialogue among farmers, community leaders, men and women, on inclusion issues affecting women’s rights at participating and benefiting from key value chains in each country.
At the same time, women’s access to information is often less than men’s. Through our work with radio stations, we will work with broadcasters to equip them to address gender inequity, and how they can engage women in their programs. Each radio program is developed with women in mind, ensuring that their voices will be heard as experts and equals. Women-only phone lines and listening groups will ensure that women have spaces to contribute dedicated to them, and program segments will look at the unique challenges women face in each of the value chains in the seven countries.
Additionally, our radio resources team will develop new gender-specific tools for broadcasters related to each of the value chains.Together, it means that more broadcasters, in more places, will be able to create spaces for women to thrive and to meaningly participate in their communities recovery.
“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone differently,” says Christine Roy, the project lead. “We’re excited that this ambitious project will mean that women, farmers, and rural people across many regions of sub-Saharan Africa will get a head start on recovery thanks to the power of interactive radio.”
RECOVER is implemented in the framework of a project financed by GIZ as commissioned by the Government of Germany.