Sharing Knowledge, Giving Voice

Scaling Her Voice on Air: New project will bring interactive radio to more than 2 million women farmers in West Africa

Scaling Her Voice on Air

Press release

With funding from Global Affairs Canada, we will bring improved interactive radio services to Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Senegal, reaching more than 7 million small-scale farmers to improve food security and gender equality.

February 20, 2019

OTTAWA, Ontario – Farm Radio International (FRI) is excited to start a new five-year project that will bring interactive radio services to more than 7 million farmers, with a focus on serving women farmers and challenge inequalities between women and men. Thanks to funding from Global Affairs Canada, we will work with radio partners in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Senegal.

Africa’s small-scale farmers, particularly women, produce food for their families and communities, yet they are among the most vulnerable to malnutrition and poverty. Agriculture can be a driver of food security, employment, women’s empowerment and economic development as well as improved nutrition. But many farmers have limited access to good information, technology and services, about these topics, and women especially often have even less access to — or influence over — these.

Quality information and communication services can help women and men farmers make changes that improve their lives and livelihoods. In the Scaling Her Voice on Air project, radio will be used to share good and gender-sensitive agricultural information and amplify the voices of farmers, especially women, so that they can exchange ideas with each other and with other stakeholders in their communities. Women, particularly, will be engaged, so that they can be leaders and fully participate in the food and nutrition security of their families and communities.

This project will build on the successes and lessons learned from Her Voice on Air, which delivered high-quality interactive radio programming to farmers in Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda and provided space to talk and reflect on air about gender inequalities. Through this project, FRI worked closely with 134 women’s groups to amplify the voices of women through these radio programs, building their capacity at using information and communication technologies and training broadcasters on gender.

“Through our Her Voice on Air project, women noticed an increased respect for their own ability to educate each other on farming practices. They gained the confidence to discuss and explain their farming practices and became the main channel of information regarding the new practices they learned from the radio shows,” explained Caroline Montpetit, Regional program manager, West Africa, and Gender Specialist.

FRI has had offices in West Africa since 2007, but this project will be the first in Senegal. With more than 100 radio stations in Senegal, this project provides a great opportunity to build on the existing culture of radio as a communication service. And with 21 broadcasting partners already in Senegal, FRI has a network to build upon.

“The goal is to not only deliver high quality, participatory and interactive radio programs to millions of small-scale farmers, but to do so in a way that can be sustained long after the five years of this project. With community involvement and cooperation with a variety of stakeholders, these programs will continue to support farming families, and especially women, with good information for years to come,” said Caroline Montpetit.


Government of Canada

This five year, $6-million project, will end in 2023. The Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada, is supporting the project with a grant of $5 million over the five years of the project.


Contact

To learn more about the Scaling Her Voice on Air project or our work in West Africa, please contact: Caroline Montpetit, Regional program manager, West Africa, and Gender Specialist, 613-761-3688, cmontpetit@farmradio.org

About​ ​Farm​ ​Radio​ ​International

Farm Radio International is the only international non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to serving African farming families and rural communities through radio.

Why radio? Even in the most remote communities in rural Africa, people have radio. It serves young and old, men and women, those who are literate and those who are not. Done well, rural radio programs have the power to transform lives for the better. That’s why Farm Radio International has been working since 1979 to help radio serve Africa’s small-scale farmers. When they have access to the information they need, when they need it, farmers are able to grow more and better food and enjoy better health and economic security.

With more than 750 radio partners across 40 sub-Saharan African countries, Farm Radio International currently reaches tens of millions of small-scale farmers with life-changing information and opportunities to have a stronger voice in their own development.