Radio Boda-boda goes the extra mile to serve farmers

Rural radio broadcasts reach some of the most remote areas of sub-Saharan Africa. However, when FRI Tanzania staff visited the farming village of Engare Nairobi west of Mount Kilimanjaro, it became clear that people there were unable to receive a radio signal. Without access to radio, Engare Nairobi’s farmers were missing out on critical agricultural information.

Shows radio coverage map and how Engare Nairobi misses out!

Radio coverage map that shows how the village of Engare Nairobi misses out! See a video which explains the coverage

But now, through an innovative project developed at FRI’s radio and ICT innovation lab, The Hangar, radio content is being delivered to hard-to-reach places such as Engare Nairobi on motorcycle taxis — or “boda-bodas” as they are known across much of East Africa.

Working with FRI broadcasting partner Sauti ya Injili, FRI hires a boda-boda once a month to transport SD memory cards containing several pre-recorded agricultural radio programs to a community listening group in Engare Nairobi. The boda-boda travels 85 kilometres from Sauti ya Injili’s studios in the town of Moshi to Engare Nairobi.

Tanzanian women farmers listening to a solar-powered Freeplay radio with SD card

Tanzanian farmers listening to a solar-powered Freeplay radio with SD card


Villagers listen to the programs on wind-up, solar-powered Freeplay radios that FRI gave to community listening groups. Each memory card holds up to four programs. Listening group members are not only able to listen to the programs, but can also record messages for the Kilimo ni utafiti (Farming is research) program on Sauti ya Injili.

Tumiani Masahi, chairperson of Ngarenairobi village in Tanzania

Tumiani Masahi, chairperson of Engare Nairobi village in Tanzania


Tumaini Masahi is a 47-year-old small-scale farmer and mother of two. She is also the village chairperson. Mrs. Masahi says, “Each month, [the] Kijiji Biashara farmers group receives the SD card [and] listens to the Kilimo ni utafiti radio program together at the Engare Nairobi village office. It [has] helped us understand the importance of sharing agricultural information with other farmers from nearby villages.”

About the author
Adam Bemma is a Canadian journalist based in Arusha, Tanzania. He is currently volunteering his time for the Farm Radio International office there.

Want to learn more?

Get our latest news and stories.


  1. Kay Wotton on July 29, 2014 at 10:43 am

    We have OSP farmers in SW Uganda who are also VHTs –without cellphone or radio contact who have heard about your drama broadcasts from other VHTs who are able to hear them. It would be wonderful if we could get the SD to them. Who would I contact to make this possible?

  2. Adam on September 3, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Hello Kay,

    I would suggest contacting FRI Uganda’s office in Kampala.
    Thanks for reaching out. Regards.

  3. […] Published online @ […]


Get our latest news and stories.