Press release: FRI wins WSIS Project Prize


A leader in the field:

Farm Radio International (FRI) has won a prestigious WSIS project prize from the World Summit on the Information Society. This international award recognizes our innovative use of radio and information & communication technologies to support broadcasters and farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ottawa, Canada — May 26, 2015 — Farm Radio International is proud to announce its “Radio to improve production and marketing for farmers” project has won a prestigious 2015 WSIS Project Prize. We are accompanied by several impressive projects in receiving this award.

“It is a great honour to receive this recognition of our work. Our prime motivation is to share knowledge and amplify the voices of small-scale farmers in Africa through interactive radio services — but receiving the 2015 WSIS Project Prize is a wonderful and motivational affirmation of our efforts,” said Kevin Perkins, executive director of Farm Radio International.

This award recognizes our innovative use of radio formats as well as modern communication technologies to increase the interactivity and reach of radio programming that supports family farmers.

Our “Radio to improve production and marketing for farmers” project, undertaken with the generous support of the Government of Canada provided through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), incorporated information & communication technologies into carefully-planned radio programming aimed at improving small-scale farmers’ participation in key agricultural value chains, providing increased food security and income.

These techniques include the development of mobile phone voting systems that use simple (and free) missed calls to the radio station to allow listeners to participate in a poll.

This project also took advantage of both Participatory Radio Campaigns and Radio Marketplace radio strategies in order to ensure programming was informative, entertaining and participatory.

WSIS award

Blythe McKay, director of broadcaster resources, accepts the WSIS Project Prize in Geneva May 2015.

About the “Radio to improve production and marketing for farmers” project
The “Radio to improve production and marketing for farmers” project uses participatory radio campaigns (PRCs) to talk about key value chains in Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana and Mali. The purpose of a PRC is to help farmers make an informed decision about a new practice. The PRC unfolds in four stages: introducing an innovation, discussing the information, asking listeners to make a decision to implement the innovation, and then providing information to support implementation.

This project saw radio broadcasters trained to design their own PRCs on key production and post-harvest issues related to an important value chain in their community. Broadcasters consulted their farming audience to select the value chain and the post-harvest issue. In Malawi, farmers were concerned about drying groundnuts to prevent aflatoxin, a by-product of a mould that is known to contribute to cancer. Aflatoxin keeps many groundnut farmers from getting a good price for their crop.

Broadcaster Sheila Chimphamba, with Zodiak Broadcasting Station in Malawi, sees and hears the difference her PRC is making each time she visits the field. The information shared on the radio is so valued, it is shared village to village and Sheila faces questions from farmers even when she travels beyond the reach of the radio station’s transmission. “You see this program has reached people who are not in our [broadcasting] area — people who are not even targeted,” she said.

Radio Marketplace is an ongoing radio program aimed at supporting farmers to secure the maximum value from their harvest. These participatory programs address market barriers farmers may face and discuss the basics of marketing: price, place, product and profit.

This project has already had an incredible impact, reaching 2.5 million farmers via six radio stations in its first two years. The project began in Malawi and Tanzania in 2012, addressing the cassava and groundnut value chains, and is expanding to Ghana and Mali in 2015 where it will target cowpea and local poultry value chains.

For more information, contact
Blythe McKay
Director of Broadcaster Resources

About Farm Radio International
Farm Radio International is a Canadian charity that harnesses the power of radio to meet the needs of small-scale farmers. We work with 600 radio partners in 38 African countries to fight poverty and food insecurity. FRI resources and training help African broadcasters produce and deliver practical, relevant and timely information to tens of millions of farmers. We also work with a range of partners to implement radio projects that respond to community needs.

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  1. ABS FM on August 17, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Congratulations upon winning the 2015 WSIS Forum.
    Thank you
    Oryema Justin Boswell

  2. Thomas Duyck on January 15, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Congratulations FRI!
    I have always known that your service is the best!
    This just emphasizes how important your work is.
    Keep up the good work!


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