Including our listeners in the creation of radio programs

At Farm Radio International, we include the farming women, men and youth we serve and the African radio stations and broadcasters we work with as active partners in the development of our interactive radio programming.

When we design any radio program or project, the first thing we do is consult with the communities the radio programs are for. We learn about what they already know, what they want to learn more about – even what words they use so that the programs we design with radio stations are relevant to them.

For instance, for our Green Leaf Radio Magazines, broadcasters like Owoahene Acheampong head to the field to plan programs with farmers.

“First and foremost we go to the communities, we visit their farms, we visit them in their communities and interact with them,” says Owoahene, whose program airs on Royals FM in Ghana.

Listen to broadcaster Owoahene Acheampong from Royals FM in Ghana talk about consulting farmers before designing radio programs.

The next step we take is designing the actual interactive radio program. We bring a group of people together to do this: radio broadcasters, knowledge partners like local women’s organizations or agriculture extension agents, development partners like the World Food Programme, government officials to advise on policy — but most importantly, farmers and rural people themselves.

“We do it together with them. We plan it with them. We decided it with them and then we implement it together with them,” says Owoahene.“We ask women farmers to share their views as well so they are not left out.”

What that means is this: rural people have a real say in what goes into the programs that are designed for them.

They can suggest topics of the week, formats that they want to listen to, interview subjects they want to hear from or questions they want asked.

Including listeners in the development of these programs makes interactive radio that is more relevant, meaningful and useful to the people we serve.

This blog post is the second 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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