On the air in Niger
Mamoudou Abdoulaye (Reporter): Hello everyone. What town are we in today?”
Crowd: “In Sakoira!”
“Our production team has gone to Sakoira, 10 kilometres from Tillabery, along the road Ayorou,” the presenter of Voice of the River tells listeners to the new show.
For the first time, farmers in one of the world’s most challenging agricultural environments have radio programs that include them and will help them learn how to better their lives and livelihoods. More than a million people live in this part of the Niger river basin, on the edge of the Sahara Desert, and face the daily challenge of surviving in the midst of ongoing drought punctuated by massive floods from the unpredictable river.
As part of the Catholic Relief Services project “Scaling Up Resilience for over One Million,” Farm Radio International has trained broadcasters at two rural radio stations in Niger to create participatory, interactive, radio programs for their communities. Two more stations in Niger and two in the Gao District of neighbouring Mali will complete the radio picture.
Research on the ground with farmers has identified many areas where the farmers believe information broadcast on the radio could help. When combined with knowledge from agricultural, environmental and social science researchers, the result is a set of strategies that should make a difference. Radio is where the dialogue takes place, farmers asking questions, posing their problems and discussing the proposed solutions.
For the broadcasters at Voix du Sahel who broadcast Voice of the River, a big challenge has been getting to remote villages to interview farmers and villagers.”They are really working hard to make programs that matter to the community,” says Caroline Montpetit, FRI’s Senior Program Officer for the project. “They rarely went to the field to interview on location. The training from FRI was a real eye opener for them.”
Scaling Up Resilience for over One Million (SUR1M) is funded by UKAID.