The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for farmers and rural people across sub-Saharan Africa. As many as 60% of people in Southern and Eastern Africa have reported lost jobs or income from the pandemic. As countries and economies begin to re-open, farmers and rural people need good information to make decisions about where to invest, how to continue to stay safe, and how to reverse the harms to income and gender equality that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
This project was designed to encourage and improve agriculture and economic recovery, safely, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic — especially as countries and economies began to re-open.
Farm Radio International used interactive radio to reach women and men from rural communities in seven countries with gender-responsive information on specific value chains including soybean, cassava, groundnut and more. Done at a distance, using remote technologies to ensure the safety of everyone involved during the pandemic, the project also addressed hygiene, nutrition, gender equality, and climate change through radio programs.
Farm Radio International worked with stations during every step of the process to design and deliver targeted radio programs on various value chains. Training was done in-person according to physical distancing guidelines, as well as remotely, by sending resources on program design and agricultural information to ensure stations can broadcast programs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and for years to come.
Certain stations were involved in intensive participatory radio campaigns, designed and delivered with multiple stakeholders involved, while others produced "Script Plus" radio series, allowing the project to reach across countries with fully at-a-distance designed campaigns, guided by online trainings and detailed resources.
The RECOVER project aimed to increase dialogue among farmers, community leaders, and people of all genders on inclusion issues affecting women’s rights and their access to key value chains in each country.
Using women-based community listening groups, Her Voice on Air approaches, and a gender-sensitive approach, the project aimed to ensure women can have their say and benefit economically in their communities.
Based on Farm Radio surveys, women and men had high (over 83%) and almost equal access to radio in targeted regions of the seven countries. This is despite women’s lower access to mobile phones compared to men in Sub-Saharan Africa.
At project end, a similar proportion of women and men called in to interact with the programs, except in Ethiopia, Zambia and Togo where a higher proportion of men reported calling in. The proportion of women listeners surveyed who called in to interact with radio programs varied from 55% in Zambia to 9% in Malawi.
Overall, Farm Radio's approaches seemed to see success in furthering gender equality in the project.
- More than 80% of respondents — mostly women — reported increased knowledge on gender equality actions such as joint decision making in selection and sale of crops, and equitable farming responsibilities.
- Between 53% (Malawi) and 88% (Ethiopia) of farmers said they had adopted at least one gender equality practice.
Funded by the Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector, a global project implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) under the “ONE World − No Hunger” initiative of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
- Duration: 15 months, 2020-2021
- Budget: 4.3M CAD / €2.9M
- Radio stations: 173
- Languages: Afan Oromifa, Amharic, Anoufo, Bassar, Chewa, Chichewa, Chibarue, Chute, Ewe, Kabyè, Konkomba, Kototkoli, Moba, Naouda, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Sena, Tonga, Wolaytegna.
Ultimate outcome: To improve the income and productivity of small-scale farmers across all seven countries while ensuring that women are included and can also benefit from and participate in farming activities.
High percentages of respondents in all seven countries reported an increase in knowledge of good agricultural practices over a range of areas such as land preparation, use of new or improved varieties of seeds or weeding at the appropriate time:
- 70% of respondents in Togo, the lowest of the seven countries, and
- 93% in Zambia, the highest of the seven.
High percentages of respondents reported an increase in knowledge on marketing (such as through sorting and grading of harvest, collective marketing or calculating profit margin):
- 48% in Ethiopia represented the lowest among the seven countries, and
- 92% in Mali represented the highest percentage.
The proportion of respondents who reported an increase in knowledge concerning nutrition and Covid-19 prevention measures ranged from:
- 36% in Malawi, and
- 92% in Ethiopia.
More than 80% of respondents reported increased knowledge on gender equality actions such as joint decision making in selection and sale of crops, and equitable farming responsibilities.
In three countries (Zambia, Togo and Mali) over 87% of farmers surveyed indicated the adoption of at least one good agricultural practice. In Malawi 30% of respondents reported adoption with 20% in Côte d’Ivoire. There was marginal difference in the adoption rates of women and men farmers.
On average 61% of farmers said they adopted one marketing practice ranging from 26% in Côte d’Ivoire to 83% Togo.
Uptake of nutrition and Covid-19 practices ranged from 30% in Côte d’Ivoire to 96% in Togo.
Between 53% (Malawi) and 88% (Ethiopia) of farmers said they had adopted at least one gender equality practice.
This data stems from a survey of a sample of farmers from regions that FRI radio programs covered in each country to retroactively collect evidence on change in outcome indicators (change in knowledge, skills and practices). The survey was conducted in-person in all countries except Zambia and Ethiopia where data collection was done through virtual interaction using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). The overall sample included 2,948 farmers.