The new age of radio: How ICTs are changing rural radio in Africa

The African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI) was a 42-month action search project implemented by Farm Radio International in partnership with World University Service of Canada (WUSC), and with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. AFRRI set out to test the effectiveness of a new type of radio campaign: the participatory radio campaign (PRC). Working with partner radio stations in five African countries, AFRRI created a series of farm radio programs designed to educate farmers, and enable them to improve their agricultural practices. This is the major research report coming out of this multi-country action research project. The learnings from this project have provided valuable insights into how to do interactive rural radio in the rest of FRI’s work.

Low cost, modern information and communication technologies (ICTs), including mobile phones, multi-function MP3 recorders, and interactive voice response (IVR) can dramatically increase the capacity of rural radio to help farmers improve food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite rapid gains in ICTs worldwide, radio stations in Africa have largely not had access to integrated mobile phone technology, desktop editing, portable recording, computers, or access to the internet. The aim of this study was to discover, document, and disseminate best practices for using radio-based communications to enhance food security in Africa.

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