Respecting the communities that we serve

At Farm Radio International, we respect the knowledge and wisdom of the women, men, youth and communities we serve in rural Africa.

When our founder, George Atkins, learned that many farmer programs in Africa shared tips that were irrelevant to small-scale farmers, he set off on a mission to change that. George travelled the world learning directly from farmers — information that he would share with rural broadcasters through radio scripts and tapes.

Though we’ve come a long way since then, we continue to share ideas and solutions that farmers themselves have developed. From 2015 to 2017, we ran a program in Ghana on guinea fowl. Guinea fowl are a fixture on family farms in northern Ghana and native to the area. Yet baby guinea fowl (keets) are sensitive to environmental conditions and have a high mortality rate. At the time, there wasn’t much information available about how to raise guinea fowl specifically. However, some farmers in the region had successfully domesticated the birds. Through the project, we learned from and broadcast their traditional knowledge.

We’re using a similar approach in our project about Nature-based Solutions to climate change. We’re running On Air Dialogues and visiting communities to find out what climate adaptation solutions they are already implementing, from planting trees to making compost from animal manure. Then, we’ll be producing radio documentaries to showcase those local Nature-based Solutions to other communities so they can learn from what works.

It’s through respecting farmers’ knowledge and lived experience that we can make sure solutions are equitable, sustainable, useful and productive for all.

This blog post is the first in a series about how Farm Radio International lives our values (respect, include, listen, amplify, deliver and learn) in our work. Read our full statement of values here.

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