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Farm Radio Weekly

“Climate Change Adaptation Goes Soap!” – Workshop for new radio drama held in Abuja

A unique group of collaborators ranging from soap opera writers to agricultural scientists gathered for a workshop in Abuja, Nigeria, recently. The group was brought together by the Nigerian-based African Radio Drama Association (ARDA) as part of a project aiming to evaluate the effectiveness of radio drama as a tool to help smallholder farmers in northern Nigeria adapt to climate change. Project partners include ARDA, DCFRN, the University of Guelph, Canada, and the Women Farmers’ Advancement Network (WOFAN). The initiative is funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre’s Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program.

The project will create a 26-episode radio drama designed to entertain as it educates listeners about methods that smallholder farmers can use to adapt to climate change. Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are among the challenges that climate change presents. While weaving a dramatic tale, the radio series will provide practical information on adaptation techniques, such as how to use quick-germinating and fast-maturing grains to obtain the best crop with a short or poor rainfall, methods to preserve and rehabilitate soil, and how to harvest and store water for use during the long dry season. Other messages will include: the need to seek out relevant information on climate change and agricultural adaptations, the importance of environmentally sound farming practices, and methods of community organization and action.

At a workshop held in Abuja from December 10-18, scriptwriters and radio producers from six radio stations in northern Nigeria learned more about how climate change affects smallholder farmers who depend on rain-fed agriculture. The stations that participated in the workshop were Borno State Radio Corporation, FRCN Kaduna, FRCN Kano, Kano State Radio Corporation, Gombe Media Corporation, and Pyramid Radio. The participants also discussed the best ways to use radio drama to capture the interest of listeners – how to profile different segments of the audience, create plots and characters that resonate with different audience members, and how to integrate important messages into the entertainment.

Along with the scriptwriters and radio producers from stations that will air the drama, participants included audience representatives, University of Guelph professors, and personnel from WOFAN, ARDA, the Nigerian Environmental Study Group, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture/Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno State project, and the Nigerian Ministry of the Environment. The radio drama, scheduled to air later in 2008, will be recorded in Hausa and Kanuri languages with Nigerian actors and musicians. The drama will be aired in Kano, Kaduna, Borno, and Katsina states. Scripts for the 26-part radio drama will also be translated into English and French and shared with DCFRN partners and FRW community members. They will be posted online at www.farmradio.org, where they will be available for use by any interested radio organizations.This is the second radio drama collaboration between ARDA and DCFRN. The first was a 13-episode drama that incorporated information about desertification in a gripping soap opera. Scripts for this drama were originally sent to partners as part of Package 77, in March 2006, and can be found online at: http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/77_intro_en.asp

ARDA   ARDA

Pictures from the ARDA meeting in Abuja

4 Responses to ““Climate Change Adaptation Goes Soap!” – Workshop for new radio drama held in Abuja”

  1. rose wanjiku Says:

    I think the Nigerian initiative is commendable. Apparently, many African countries are doing nothing to address climate change the challenges it brings on the way. Many countries are waiting until things get out of hand to act. I am a journalist in Kenya and issues of climate change just do not find space often in the media. One is reason is that journalists are not conversant with the issues, second, channels of information do not seem very open. Can the same initiative be started in Kenya? Would be interested in knowing.

  2. Farm Radio Weekly » Farm Radio Weekly Archive » Farm Radio collaborator talks to international business leaders about climate change Says:

    […] more information on the climate change radio drama, please see “‘Climate Change Adaptation Goes Soap!’ – Workshop for new radio drama held in Abuja,” from FRW Issue […]

  3. Wikana Says:

    CLIMATE CHANGE remains the theme at hand. Its sad to witness people here in Kenya fell trees anyhowly, clear the only standing rain forests. Its so sad that even the struggle to curb the menace falls on deaf ears. Let us care about our every action as human beings. Lets get to action expecially in my country Kenya. Lets address this issue for it is for everyones good. As for the Nigeria’s Drama initiative, I believe its just a start for it has to roll down to other African states then to the rest of the world. In so doing, nothing will worry us. We’ve been equally challenged down here to protect Kakamega Forest that is just a stone throw away from our Shinyalu Community Telecentre, in Kakamega, Kenya. Long live Farm Radio.

  4. Cheburet Says:

    Kudos to the Nigerian Initiatives.

    Here in Kenya – other Kenyans have noted here – is only talked about in government and NGO circles while little is done to educate people, more so farmers at the grassroots on its effects and implications on livelihoods. I have produced more than ten radio programmes on Climate and Climate Change and my little experience tells me that unless we educate the peasant farmers in the villages, expose them to alternative sources of energy, explore with them sustainable and environment friendly farming practices, we will cover little ground in dealing with the causal factor of climate change and environmental degradation.

    In my village in Mogotio, a little town in the low potential areas of the Rift Valley, we cut down trees for firewood and charcoal for sale. This has exposed the soil to harmful elements. As a result, agricultural produce is decreasing each year. I doubt whether we will be able to feed ourselves in the next few years. With dwindling farm output, some people decided to move to the high potentail areas near the Mau Forest. Human activities is threatening rivers that provide water for livestock and domestic use down stream.

    When rivers dry during the dry season, people downstream accuse those living upstream of using water for irrigation at the expense of those the livestock downstream. It is a complex scenario that sometimes leads to physical conflict.

    Yet we don’t seem to understand that our actions have a direct impact on the environment. For us in the media, we should adapt programming that encourages community participation. Radio theatre is one such strategy.

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