Clara Moita, broadcaster for Radio 5 in Arusha, Tanzania, works on Paza Sauti, a radio program that polled Tanzanian farmers on their access to markets.
Paza Sauti, which means “raise your voice” in Swahili, was a two-week program that polled Tanzanian farmers on their access to markets. A total of 9,000 farmers left their thoughts with five different radio stations across Tanzania.
As of 2012, more than half of all Tanzanians had a cell phone, according to the International Telecommunication Union. The Paza Sauti program harnessed the popularity of cell phones, asking farmers to “beep to vote.”
This means they leave a missed call at a certain number based on the answer they want to give for the poll. For example, do you have access to good markets for your crops? If yes, call the number ending in one. If no, call the number ending in two.
Farm Radio International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported this campaign in order to highlight how important small-scale farming is in Tanzania.
The goal was to involve as many farmers as possible. Farmers who participated were rewarded with 1,000 Tanzanian shillings in phone credit.
Local farmers were interviewed on air. They responded to four questions through the beep-to-vote system and one multiple-choice question via SMS. Farmers were also asked to leave a message on an answering machine saying how farming helped them. People from across Tanzania called in to say that farming has helped them provide for themselves and their families.
Watch Clara as she interviews an aloe vera farmer from Dar es Salaam named Kendi:
Another woman named Agness Mchona called in to say farming helped her save enough money to buy a motorcycle. Many left messages saying that they were able to build a house or send their children to school because of farming. Tanzanian farmers have raised their voices and said that farming has changed their lives.
Learn more about the poll and its results by reading this related blog post.