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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Uganda: Radio for justice and human rights in northern Uganda (by Adam Bemma, for Farm Radio Weekly)

A chime rings out from the radio speakers. A booming male voice intones: “This is Facing Justice, brought to you by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, discussing issues of justice and human rights in northern Uganda.”

Facing Justice was a biweekly radio program which aired on radio stations across seven northern Ugandan districts. It was first broadcast in September 2009 and ended in 2013. During its four-year lifetime, the program helped rebuild a community shattered by two decades of war.

Tackling justice and human rights was a bold move for northern Uganda’s local radio stations. But an estimated 4.6 million Ugandans tuned in twice a week to Mega FM, Radio Rhino, Voice of Teso, Radio Palwak and Radio Pacis to hear about the reconciliation process.

In 2010 and 2011, the Northern Uganda Media Club, or NUMEC, took over production of Facing Justice from the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, or IWPR. The program was picked up and broadcast on a network of 12 radio stations. In 2014, its successor program is still going strong.

Simon Jennings is the Africa editor at IWPR. He says: “This radio show was a follow-up to the International Criminal Court’s 2005 indictment of Joseph Kony and LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army] commanders. The idea was to … monitor these developments and give people a voice and [an] insight into these complex processes.”

Mr. Jennings adds, “Radio is a key medium. Through it, we were able to reach a huge audience.”

Facing Justice was a 30-minute program broadcast in English, Luo, Ateso and Lugbara. It examined community topics such as the availability of health services, gender-based violence and access to clean drinking water.

But Facing Justice was not simply a radio show. IWPR trained freelance Ugandan journalists and staff at its partner radio stations, focusing on investigative reporting. Reporters were taught how best to tackle stories like the hunt for Kony. Internally displaced people were still returning home and this subject, in particular, was a sensitive one for many listeners.

Mr. Jennings says: “Some of the journalists IWPR trained have gone on to work as reporters in media houses in Gulu, Lira and Kampala. One reporter is now a correspondent for the national Daily Monitor newspaper in Uganda. In all, we trained 30 to 40 journalists.”

Moses Odokonyero is the chairman of NUMEC. He says: “Following the launch of Facing Justice in 2009, new training modules in investigative reporting and technical sound production for radio have raised the standard of reporting among the local journalists.”

He adds: “It has also equipped the journalists with [the] specific editorial skills necessary for them to choose topics and story angles relevant to the local audience.”

As the situation in northern Uganda improves, radio programming is responding. Earlier this year, NUMEC launched Voices for Peace, a peacebuilding radio program which continues where Facing Justice left off.

Mr. Odokonyero explains: “Voices for Peace, which will air throughout 2014, is acting as a much needed platform to share information on peace. [It aims to provoke] debate around post-conflict issues in northern Uganda, and thus contribute to de-escalating conflicts that could otherwise turn violent.”

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Côte d’Ivoire: Prison farming cultivates dignity (IPS)

François Kouamé wears his prison number like a badge of honour. Mr. Kouamé makes his way to a field where cassava and maize plants are starting to grow, passing two new tractors along the way. He proudly exclaims, “Look at those sprouts. It is a lot of work!”

Ivorian authorities have been searching for alternatives to overcrowded prisons and malnourished prisoners. And they may have found the answer — prison farming.

The Saliakro Prison Farm is the first of its kind in Côte d’Ivoire. Its 21 buildings provide accommodation for 150 prisoners sentenced to less than three years for non-violent crimes. Mr. Kouamé is serving a one-year sentence for cutting down trees on a cocoa plantation. In a former summer camp, he and other prisoners are learning new farming skills.

For Mr. Kouamé, the farm is a relief after six months of incarceration at Soubré State Prison. He says, “We were sleeping four persons in a space that could contain only one person. And we were granted only a bowl of rice per day.”

Now he eats three meals a day and sleeps in a clean room with 16 other prisoners. Each man has his own bunk bed, a closet, and plenty of space to move about.

Mamadou Doumbia is serving a two-year sentence for stealing computers. He spent 11 months in Agboville Prison, near the country’s economic capital, Abidjan, before being sent to Saliakro Prison Farm.

Agboville was an unpleasant place, according to Mr. Doumbia. He witnessed rapes, and says prisoners were malnourished and had problems with pests. At Saliakro, he says, “I feel … human again.”

Ivorian authorities at the Ministry of Justice and supporters at French NGO Prisoners without Borders plan to use the Saliakro project to improve inmate conditions, reduce costs and help prisoners reintegrate into the community after serving their time.

Pinguissie Ouattara is the superintendent of Saliakro Prison and also manages the Dimbokro Prison a few kilometres away. He believes the new prison farm will have a positive effect on prison rehabilitation.

Mr. Ouattara says: “It is about more than feeding themselves … It is about learning new skills and being able to reintegrate and participate fully in society. This is about bringing an alternative to crime, and decreasing the crime rate.”

Though Mr. Kouamé was a farmer before he was sentenced to prison, the experience at Saliakro has been valuable. He has learned a lot from the agronomists since he arrived in December 2013. He says, “I have learnt here many things that will make my farm more profitable, notably by diversifying production.”

To read the article on which this story is based, How farming is making Côte d’Ivoire’s prisoners ‘feel like being human again,’ go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/08/how-farming-in-making-cote-divoires-prisoners-feel-like-being-human-again/

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FRW news in brief

Farm Radio Weekly has a new trial resource for you: Farmer news briefs. These are stories from across the continent which have been adapted from print or online sources and are suitable for use in your regular farm radio program. Read them, edit them, broadcast them, localize them, or simply use them as background info. Want more details? Click the link under the story to see the original article.

Please let us know what you think. Do you want to see Farmer news briefs in Farm Radio Weekly on a regular basis? Email us at farmradioweekly@farmradio.org

1-Ethiopia: Farmer hotline heats up

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, and Ethio Telecom have launched an information hotline to provide rural, small-scale farmers with access to timely and relevant agricultural advice.

In the 12 weeks since it was launched, 300,000 farmers have made over 1.5 million calls to the service. This success underlines the demand for agricultural extension services in hard-to-reach parts of Tigray, Oromia, SNNP and Amhara regions.

The free telephone hotline provides pre-recorded information on land preparation, planting, crop protection, post-harvest activities, fertilizer application, processing, irrigation and weather. An SMS alert system notifies farmers and government extension agents about other agricultural issues.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201409181595.html

2-Nigeria: Soap operas tackle serious issues

Television soap operas have long been popular in Nigeria. But one of the longest running soaps is broadcast on the radio.

Story, Story: Voices from the Market is a drama recorded in real locations rather than a radio studio. A recent episode dealt with the Ebola outbreak. One of the characters fell ill with the virus after returning to Nigeria, providing a platform to air critical information on the virus.

The program’s producers believe radio soap operas like Story, Story, with their millions of dedicated listeners, can help with situations like the current Ebola outbreak.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-09-08/its-not-just-soap-opera-its-radio-movie

3-Central African Republic: Supporting local media to end violence

The ongoing violence in the Central African Republic represents an opportunity for the media to play an important role in facilitating communication and dialogue in the country.

Radio is the most popular and accessible medium in the CAR. Under-resourced radio stations often use newspaper stories as on-air news items. But if these stories are inaccurate or misleading, the already tense situation can be further damaged.

To promote peace and national reconciliation, the Association of Journalists for Human Rights is mentoring a network of 18 community correspondents across the country. The organization provides workshops on how to sensitively cover stories on violence, and produces and distributes radio news bulletins in French and Sango to local FM and shortwave stations.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.odihpn.org/humanitarian-exchange-magazine/issue-62/supporting-local-media-in-the-central-african-republic

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Call for applications: Reporting course on governance and corruption

TrustMedia is offering a reporting course on governance and corruption. Among other subjects, participants will learn how to decipher financial documents and use investigative techniques to expose corruption.

Applicants must be working journalists or regular contributors to print, broadcast or online media organizations. They must have at least two years of professional experience and a good level of spoken and written English.

Bursaries are available for journalists from the developing world or countries in political transition who work for organizations with no resources for training. Bursaries cover air travel, accommodation and a modest living allowance.

The course runs from December 15-19, 2014, in London, England.

The application deadline is October 3, 2014.

For more information, go to: http://www.trust.org/course/?id=a05D000000PG2ApIAL

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African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms

The African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms is a Pan-African initiative to promote human rights standards and principles of openness in formulating and implementing Internet policy in Africa.

According to its authors, the Declaration is intended to elaborate on the principles necessary to uphold human rights on the Internet, and to cultivate an Internet environment that can best meet Africa’s social and economic development needs and goals.

To find out more, please visit the website at: http://africaninternetrights.org/

To read the full text of the Declaration, go to: http://africaninternetrights.org/declaration/

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Radio spot on cholera

In light of the current cholera outbreak in Ghana, Farm Radio International’s Ghana office arranged for the following radio script to be distributed to many of FRI’s broadcasting partners in the country. The script touches on both the prevention and treatment of cholera. It was adapted from a piece written by Kuma Drah. Broadcasters across Africa can use this information to create their own radio spots and other pieces on cholera.

VOICE I: Do you know how you can prevent the loss of lives during an outbreak of cholera? Let’s find out more about cholera from a doctor.

VOICE 2: Cholera is a severe diarrhea-like infection that is caused by eating food or water contaminated by a particular kind of bacteria or germ. Cholera can kill untreated people within hours through excessive loss of fluid.

VOICE 1: How can we prevent cholera?

VOICE 2: You can prevent cholera by taking the following three steps:

First, drink only boiled or treated water and bottled or canned carbonated beverages.

Second, wash your hands often with soap and clean water.

Third, if soap and water are not available, wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand cleaner that contains at least 60% alcohol.

It’s most important to clean your hands before you eat or prepare food and after using the toilet.

You should also:

Eat foods that are packaged or that are freshly cooked and served hot.

Avoid eating raw or undercooked meats or seafood, or unpeeled fruits and vegetables.

Dispose of faeces in a sanitary manner to avoid contaminating water and food.

VOICE 1: Doctor, what should we do when we suspect that someone has cholera?

VOICE 2: Cholera can be simply and successfully treated by immediately replacing the fluid and salts lost through diarrhea. Patients are given oral rehydration solution, also called ORS. ORS is a pre-packaged mixture of sugar and salts which is mixed with water and drunk in large quantities. You can also prepare your own ORS at home if ORS packets are not available.

VOICE 1: Doctor, how do I prepare ORS at home?

VOICE 2: You need three ingredients: First, 1 litre or five 200-millilitre cups of clean water.

Second, six level teaspoons of sugar.

Third, half a level teaspoon of salt.

Stir the mixture till the sugar dissolves.

The patient should drink as much of the mixture as possible in order to replace the excessive loss of fluid.

VOICE 1: What next, Doctor?

VOICE 2: Rush the patient to a health facility. Remember that cholera is a germ usually found in water or food that has been contaminated by the faeces of a person infected with cholera. You can prevent the spread of cholera by keeping your hands, food, water and surroundings clean.

VOICE 1: Thank you very much, Doctor, for your clear and concise advice to keep our hands clean, eat and drink only food and liquids we know to be safe, prevent our faeces from contaminating water supplies, and rehydrating and seeking medical assistance as soon as possible.

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No water, no life: Corruption in a Zambian prison

Our story from Côte d’Ivoire shows a positive side to prison life. But that’s not always the case. Our script of the week looks at corruption in a Zambian prison, focusing on access to clean drinking water.

Like many Africans, a large percentage of Zambians get their drinking water from rainwater, shallow wells or unclean or contaminated water from streams. In response, governments, NGOs, donors and others have pumped funds into the water system in order to improve infrastructure, including in the prison system.

But, unfortunately, even prison systems are subject to corruption.

In this script, we see how people from different backgrounds were affected when a prison commissioner took advantage of his position to use a borehole meant for the prison for his own private use, and what happened when he was discovered.

http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-92-water-integrity/no-water-no-life-corruption-in-a-zambian-prison/

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Security issues: Food, shelter and fishing grounds

Hello! Welcome to Farm Radio Weekly issue #305. This edition has an East African flavour. Farmers are profiting from an improved variety of banana in Rwanda; we look at the security situation for women and girls in camps for displaced people in South Sudan; and we hear about the explosive situation in Tanzanian fisheries.

In 2006, the Rwandan government introduced a policy of regional crop specialization. This means that farmers in different parts of the country are required to embrace new varieties of, and new ideas about, their crops. Farmer Laurent Mushingwamana found bananas to his liking.

The civil war in South Sudan has forced thousands from their homes to escape violence and bloodshed. One hundred thousand people are internally displaced and have sought solace in UN camps. But are the camps protecting women and girls from sexual violence?

Tanzanian fisherfolk are resorting to explosives to land bigger catches! Stunning a shoal of fish with a stick of dynamite can mean big profits. But the damage caused to the maritime environment may result in the loss of fishing grounds and coral reefs.

This week, we present the first in an occasional series of articles which feature our broadcasting partners. After taking part in an FRI pilot project on weather services for farmers, Rotlinde Achimpota initiated a farming program on her station, the Arusha-based Mambo Jambo. Read more in the Action section below.

Give someone a fish, and you feed them for a day; teach a person how to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime. Unless someone uses dynamite to catch all the fish at once …

Have a happy and peaceful week!

-the Farm Radio Weekly team

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Rwanda: Farmer adopts improved bananas and becomes role model (by Fulgence Niyonagize, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Laurent Mushingwamana uprooted all of his old banana trees and replaced them with new suckers. His neighbour, Mathias Ndikunkiko, could not believe his eyes. Mr. Ndikunkiko recalls: “When I saw him uproot all his trees, I thought he had gone mad. I asked myself, ‘How could he replace the plants which have fed us since our childhood?’”

Laurent Mushingwamana is the chief of Gitovu, a village in Karongi District, in the Western province of Rwanda. Bananas are the main crop in the region and Mr. Mushingwamana is considered a model farmer.

Mr. Mushingwamana explains how he began the process of improving his bananas. In 2006, Rwanda implemented a new policy of “agricultural regionalization” that encouraged farmers to specialize in crops that were most suitable to their climatic regions. Mr. Mushingwamana says: “I used to cultivate bananas traditionally, like the others. Then one day we had a meeting with other administrative authorities. We were asked to be the pioneers in developing our respective communities.”

Bananas were one of the crops chosen for Karongi District. Mr. Mushingwamana also grows beans and potatoes but chose to make bananas his main crop. In 2009, he decided to learn as much as he could about bananas. He recalls: “I went to nearby Rubengera to visit an Anglican church that grows bananas. This church is also a banana plant multiplication centre. I learned how and why I could improve my farming.”

Mr. Mushingwamana remained at the centre for a week. He returned home with planting materials for a new variety called FIYA. It was the increase in yield that quickly convinced his neighbours to follow his lead. Mr. Ndikunkiko, the neighbour who thought Mr. Mushingwamana was crazy for uprooting his bananas, says, “When I saw his yields, I immediately uprooted my own bananas.”

According to Mr. Mushingwamana, the new variety produces bunches of bananas that weigh a minimum of 80 kilograms. He says: “The largest bunches from the traditional variety only weighed between 20 and 30 kilograms. Each banana plant now earns me between 8,000 and 10,000 Rwandan francs [$11.50-14.50 U.S.].” Bunches from the traditional variety earned him barely 2,000 francs [$2.90 U.S.].

Mr. Mushingwamana is still leading by example. Agricultural extension officers regularly invite him to share his experiences with farmers from other villages. He shares his secrets with them, such as how to properly maintain plants and how best to apply manure.

In recognition of his efforts, Mr. Mushingwamana was presented with a cow by Karongi’s mayor. But his journey is far from over. He says, “I have just set up a banana farmers’ co-operative, which we’ll use to spread the best practices in banana production widely.”

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South Sudan: Women fearful in camps for internally displaced people (IRIN)

Julie Francis starts her self-imposed curfew at sunset. Since December 2013, the widowed mother of four has been living at the United Nations base outside Malakal, 40 kilometres from the Sudanese border.

Mrs. Francis is one of more than 17,000 people who came to the camp to escape violence in Malakal, the capital of South Sudan’s Upper Nile State. But the overcrowded camp has its own dangers, especially for women and girls.

Mrs. Francis hears drunken teenagers hound women walking on the site’s dark paths. She sees the holes men cut through the tarpaulin walls of the showers to peep and leer at women. She comforts survivors of rape.

She says, “It is too much. They attack us at … the toilets or at night where we collect water.”

There were twenty-eight reported cases of sexual assault in the camp in the first half of 2014, according to the Global Protection Cluster. But aid workers say it is probable that the vast majority of attacks go unreported.

Nor is the problem limited to this one camp. Since renewed fighting broke out in in mid-December, nearly 100,000 people have crowded into 10 camps in the eastern half of the country, all administered by the UN Mission in South Sudan, or UNMISS.

There are no official statistics, but humanitarian groups say sexual and gender-based violence is present to varying degrees in all the larger camps. Women and girls feel a growing resentment at the lack of action to protect them from rape, assault, harassment and domestic violence.

Nana Ndeda is the advocacy and policy manager for Care International. She says, “[Women are] getting very frustrated by the fact that UNMISS is not able to provide the kind of security that they would want provided.”

Malakal camp was established nearly nine months ago and Ms. Ndeda says it is high time that UNMISS, aid agencies and camp leaders figure out how to better protect women. As she points out, “There’s no end in sight to the [camp] world.”

In 2005, UN agencies and humanitarian groups produced a booklet entitled Guidelines for Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings. The booklet makes detailed recommendations on creating safe spaces for women to seek help, and provides guidelines for encouraging women and girls to be involved in improving their own situation.

But with the sudden, massive movement of people to hastily constructed camps, UNMISS employees have been unable so far to implement the UN guidelines.

Every night, Mrs. Francis pushes a bedframe in front of the entrance to her tent as soon as it gets dark. When she or her daughters need to go to the bathroom, they use a bag.

Mrs. Francis thinks the situation is unfair. She says, “People should take this seriously. There are still people who need to know that it is not right to rape.

To read the article on which this story was based, Women fearful in South Sudan camps, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100591/women-fearful-in-south-sudan-camps

To read the handbook, Guidelines for Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings, go to: http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?docid=439474c74

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Tanzania: ‘Blast fishing’ destroying marine habitats (BBC)

Along the coast of Tanzania, you can hear the dull thuds of underwater explosions. Fishers are using explosives to maximize their catch. But the rich coastal marine life is being destroyed as more and more fishers turn to illegal methods to make a profit.

Fishers light explosives and toss then overboard. The explosions generate underwater shock waves which stun fish and other marine creatures. Any fish that float to the surface are scooped up with nets and taken to the fish markets.

Experts say one blast is enough to kill everything within a 20-metre radius. But the explosions also destroy underwater coral systems, home to countless fish and other marine animals.

One worried fisherman prepares his wooden boat by the beautiful, calm waters of the Indian Ocean. His small vessel is one of the many that ply the thousands of kilometres of coastline. He says: “Blast fishing destroys the fish habitats underwater where fish reproduce. The number of fish has drastically reduced. We are not able to catch many fish like before.”

He and his colleagues have informed the police about blast fishers, but the practice continues. There is a secretive and apparently sophisticated network in place. Arrested dynamiters may be bribing officials to avoid prosecution. The fisherman says, “If they find out that you reported them they … threaten to hurl explosives on your boat, so sometimes we are scared to report them.”

Baraka Mngulwi works in the government department of Fisheries Resource Protection. His department faces a huge challenge. Mr. Mngulwi says that the punishments for blast fishing ─ up to five years in prison and a further 12 months for possession of explosives ̶ are not a deterrent. One blast can enable a catch of up to 400 kilograms of fish and a profit of $1,800 U.S. The temptation is just too great.

SmartFish is a fisheries program funded by the European Union. The program says that Tanzania is the only country in Africa which still practices large-scale blast fishing.

Michael Markovina works for SmartFish. He says that, after a series of blasts, coral reefs resemble a war-torn city. Mr. Markovina believes that blast fishing will turn Tanzania’s coastal waters into a barren wasteland.

Every morning, fishermen haul their catches to hundreds of traders in Dar es Salaam’s busy fish market. Demand outstrips supply, and auctioneers quickly sell the catch to the highest bidders.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to spot a dynamited fish. One trader says she can identify blasted fish by their loosened scales. She says, “We don’t buy them. Because of the impact of the blasts, they rot very fast … Some buyers and sellers don’t know that, so they buy them.”

Bala Gomwa is an auction officer. He says, “If you are not experienced, it’s very difficult. Out of 60 auctioneers, maybe two or three can tell.”

Mwanya Sleiman is a former blast fisher who now campaigns against the practice. He lost both hands when an explosive detonated before he could throw it overboard. He says: “My motivation was just the money I got from selling the fish, but I didn’t know about the impact it would have on me or the underwater environment.”

Mr. Sleiman urges others to learn from his experience. He explains, “I want the future generation to find a conserved Indian Ocean so that they can also enjoy the resources.”

To read the article on which this story was based, Blast fishing destroying Tanzania’s marine habitats, go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29049264

For more information and resources about blast fishing, go to: http://www.tnrf.org/en/dynamitefishing

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FRW news in brief

Farm Radio Weekly has a new trial resource for you: Farmer news briefs. These are stories from across the continent which have been adapted from print or online sources and are suitable for use in your regular farm radio program. Read them, edit them, broadcast them, localize them, or simply use them as background info. Want more details? Click the link under the story to see the original article.

Please let us know what you think. Do you want to see Farmer news briefs in Farm Radio Weekly on a regular basis? Email us at farmradioweekly@farmradio.org

1-Liberia: Hip hop radio station informs community about Ebola

A Monrovia-based music radio station is playing a different tune by broadcasting public information about Ebola. Hip hop DJs at Hott FM rap regularly about quarantine centres, preventative measures and new cases of the disease.

The UN Children’s Fund, or UNICEF Liberia, teamed up with Hott FM to produce a hip hop song called, “Ebola is real.” It provides practical, youth-focussed advice on the virus. Two other Ebola-themed songs have been getting airplay across the country.

UNICEF states that almost half of Liberia’s population is under the age of 18. Using popular music to broadcast essential information about Ebola may help stem the spread of the disease.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-09-01/liberias-hottest-hip-hop-station-has-all-latest-ebols-music-and-news

2-Kenya: Better soil protection boosts crop yields

According to a report from the Nairobi-based Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, or AGRA, about 1.7 million small-scale farmers in 13 African countries have adopted practices to improve the health of their soils, boosting their crop yields and incomes.

AGRA says its soil health program has led to the rejuvenation of more than 1.6 million hectares of degraded land in the past five years. Farmers who participated in the AGRA initiative in Tanzania, Malawi and Ghana have reported 200-300 per cent increases in yields of maize, pigeon pea and soybean.

According to the report, it is essential to tackle soil erosion and introduce beneficial farming practices such as crop rotation and sustainable fertilizer use. “Unhealthy soils,” the report states, “… could kill Africa’s hopes for a prosperous, food-secure future.”

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140821222748-4l1tj/

3-Democratic Republic of Congo: Thirty-seven dead from Ebola as virus spreads

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has spread into northwestern DRC, 800 kilometres from Kinshasa, the capital of the central African nation.

The Ministry of Health says the Ebola virus has spread to nine northwestern communities. Félix Kabange Numbi, DRC Minister of Health, reported that 37 people have died as of September 11. There were a further 66 suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola, according to the Minister.

The NGO Médicins sans Frontiérs has opened two health centres in affected areas of the DRC to help treat people infected with the virus. The World Health Organization states that, since March, 2,300 West Africans have died in the Ebola outbreak.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/ARTJAWEB20140912082729/sante-virus-ebola-ebola-sante-ebola-a-fait-37-morts-en-rdc.html?utm

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Call for applications: Dart Center Ochberg Fellowships for 2014-15

Reporting responsibly and credibly on violence or traumatic events ─ such as street crime and family violence, natural disasters and accidents, war and genocide ─ is a great challenge.

Since 1999, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has offered the annual Ochberg Fellowships to outstanding journalists interested in exploring these critical issues.

The Ochberg Fellowship is a seminar program for senior and mid-career journalists who wish to deepen their knowledge of emotional trauma and psychological injury, and improve reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. Successful applicants will attend an intensive week-long program of seminars and discussions to be held January 17-22, 2015 at Columbia University in New York City.

Program activities include: briefings by prominent interdisciplinary experts in the trauma and mental health fields; conversations with journalist colleagues on issues of ethics, craft and other aspects of professional practice; and a host of other opportunities for intellectual engagement and peer learning.

Twelve fellowships are available for print, broadcast and online reporters, photographers, editors and producers with at least five years of full-time journalism experience. All fellowship seminars will be conducted in English. Fellows must be fluent in spoken English to participate in the program.

The fellowship covers travel to and accommodation in New York City, as well as most meals and other expenses directly related to program participation. The program does not cover costs related to travel visas, health insurance or ground transportation in fellows’ home cities.

Further information is available here: http://dartcenter.org/content/2014-ochberg-fellowship-guidelines#.VBaFk_mSxqX

Applications must include a CV, samples of work, and recommendation letters from past or current employers. The deadline for applications is October 1, 2014, using the online application form: http://dartcenter.org/2014-ochberg-fellowship-application

Selected fellows will be notified by email in early November.

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Free on-line agricultural training videos: Crops, livestock and business skills

Access Agriculture is an international NGO that encourages the use of training videos to help farmers improve their farming and generate higher profits. The organization’s videos are designed to support sustainable agriculture in developing countries.

The videos, available in several languages, are designed for use by agricultural research and development staff and communication professionals. Extension agents or representatives of farmer organizations will also find the information useful in the trainings they provide to farmers.

The videos can be downloaded or watched online. In addition, the audio tracks can be downloaded for use by radio stations, and DVD copies of programs can be requested on Access Agriculture’s website.

You can search the website at this address: http://www.accessagriculture.org/

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Farm Radio International helps broadcaster become weather expert

Rotlinde Achimpota from Radio Mambo Jambo

Mambo Jambo Radio, affectionately known to its listeners as MJ, is a music and entertainment radio station based in Arusha, Tanzania. But in a first for MJ, its newest program focuses on agriculture and how to engage young people in farming.

Kilimo na Jamii, or Farming and society, hit the airwaves in northern Tanzania in June of this year. The program’s host, Rotlinde Achimpota, is no stranger to farming. She grows maize, cassava, pumpkins and potatoes in her kitchen garden in Usa River, about 25 kilometres east of Arusha.

Kilimo na Jamii is a 30-minute farmer radio program which airs every Saturday. Ms. Achimpota features farming advice from local agricultural extension officers and stories about successful farmers. But the highlights of the show are the two weather reports, during which Ms. Achimpota provides critical weather information for farmers in the station’s listening area.

Ms. Achimpota spent three months at The Hangar, Farm Radio International’s Arusha-based Radio and ICT Innovation Lab. There, she honed her skills as the reporter and producer of Beep for Weather. This is a mobile phone-based weather forecast which includes advice for farmers on how to use the forecast.

Ms. Achimpota receives weather data from the Tanzania Meteorological Agency and Toto Agriculture. She takes this data to extension officer Digna Massawe, who helps her provide listeners with an accurate weather forecast and meaningful analysis. During a three-month trial, farmers found the service useful; weather patterns have become erratic recently because of the changing climate.

Ms. Achimpota says her work with FRI helped her become more comfortable recording and editing the interviews and news items on her radio program. She says, “I’m becoming a radio producer. I do the [radio] program all by myself. I prepare it every week.”

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Women face many challenges after conflict

Stress, confusion, grief and anguish are emotions frequently experienced by people in conflicts or in emergency situations. The following script is intended to encourage discussion about these feelings. It includes a radio drama-style discussion among three village women, and testimonials from a relief worker and from a man who has returned home after a war. You could use them as individual stories, or broadcast them together as one longer program.

There are other ways that broadcasters can help people in their community, and especially women, deal with emotions during or after conflict:

  1. Reinforce the idea that it is normal for people to have strong feelings in these types of situations. When you interview local people, include questions that invite them to talk about their own lives and families. However, leave discussion of traumatic events to trained counsellors.
  2. Promote community events and encourage listeners to attend. It is more difficult for people to deal with complex emotions when they are isolated. Support efforts to bring people together.
  3. Create special programming for women. This can take many forms – group discussions, interviews, or radio dramas. Invite women to call the radio station if they need help from the community. For example, a woman might be looking for lost relatives, or need help with child care or chores.

http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-67-rebuilding-rural-lives-livelihoods/women-face-many-challenges-after-conflict/

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Dairy, digging and discrimination

Thank you for reading this edition of Farm Radio Weekly. Issue #304 features stories about donated dairy cows in Cameroon, South Sudanese veterans digging for peace, and apparent ageism in Zimbabwe.

Mary Nfor Ngwa was a teacher until a fire decimated her school. While looking for a new job, she joined a local group ̶ and received a dairy cow! Now, her dairy business is making her more money than she earned before, and she’d like to teach young people that farming is a profitable way to earn a living.

As the civil unrest in South Sudan continues to make life difficult, some veterans of the independence struggle have made a new life for themselves. They have leased farmland and are selling vegetables at the markets, and planning to add new crops in the future.

Elderly, rural Zimbabweans often provide for their grandchildren after their own children have left home in search of work. But extension agents and NGOs are ignoring their needs, favouring younger, more energetic farmers. Older farmers are valuable too!

Dairy cows provide excellent manure for the fields and, with a little investment, household power as well. But it is their basic product, milk, that is most valuable. When farmers form co-operatives, their buying and selling powers increase. Find out more in our Script of the week.

Close your door, turn off your phone and enjoy this Weekly in peace!

-the Farm Radio Weekly team

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Cameroon: Job seeker begins new life with donated cow (by Anne Mireille Nzouankeu, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Mary Nfor Ngwa begins each morning by visiting her cows. She checks their stalls, and she strokes and talks to them. As she feeds one of her cows, she says, “This cow has changed my life. My hopes are renewed.”

Mrs. Nfor Ngwa taught for nine years in a private elementary school in Bamenda, the capital of Northwest Region. But the school closed in 2009 after a fire. There was no money to renovate, so the school could not reopen. Mrs. Nfor Ngwa lost her job. Unable to find another teaching position, she returned to her home in Santa, a village 25 kilometres south of Bamenda.

A neighbour invited Ms. Nfor Ngwa to join a local group and add her name to the waiting list for a donated cow. She remembers that day well. She recalls, “The suggestion made me smile. As a graduate teacher, I did not see myself as a cowherd. I regarded it to be a backward step.”

The NGO Heifer International had started a cow donation scheme in a nearby village. The idea attracted a group of young people in Santa so much that they adopted it for themselves.

Peter Mbu had received a donated cow a few years earlier than Mrs. Nfor Ngwa, and encouraged her to become a cowherd. He explains: “The cow donation system relies on the fact that a person receives a dairy cow from a community member. When the cow gives birth, that person gives [the calf] to another female member of the community, and so on.” Farmers receive a cow free of charge, provided that they agree to pass on a free heifer calf. Before they can receive a cow, they must provide suitable housing for the animal.

So Mrs. Nfor Ngwa signed up. She says, “About six months after I registered, I received a dairy cow, and I said to myself, ‘What am I going to do now?’”

With the help of her group members, Ms. Nfor Ngwa has adapted to her new life. She makes a better living than she did as a teacher. She says, “I have gradually expanded my herd. I sell the calves. I also sell yogurt made ​​from the cows’ milk. I recently bought a freezer with the income from my cows.”

Despite her new occupation, Mrs. Nfor Ngwa has not forgotten teaching. With a broad smile, she says: “I would like to start classes in the holidays to teach young people the love of farming, and to challenge their belief that farming and livestock-rearing are reserved for those who have failed elsewhere.”

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South Sudan: War veterans plant for peace (IPS)

Along the fertile banks of the White Nile, a war veterans’ co-operative is planting a garden for peace and a food secure future in South Sudan. The garden is like a cornucopia in a country facing a potential famine.

Wilson Abisai Lodingareng is the founder of the Werithior Veteran’s Association, or WVA, in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan. He explains: “I have seven active members in the group, all former SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army] troops. I call them when it’s time to weed the garden. I visit once a day, each morning, to check the health of the crops and to see what’s ready for the market.”

The WVA members grow one and a half hectares of vegetables on the banks of the Nile River, six kilometres outside Juba. Mr. Lodingareng says it was a struggle to obtain this prime but idle agricultural land. Many international investors had also expressed interest. It took him almost three years to acquire a lease from the community which owns the land.

Simon Agustino is the program officer at the Mennonite Central Committee, or MCC, in South Sudan. He remembers Mr. Lodingareng visiting the MCC office to ask for assistance with a proposal. Mr. Agustino recalls, “The veterans had no hope and no way to provide for their families. People thought he was wasting his time with digging. But he didn’t give up.”

MCC provided Mr. Lodingareng with capital to lease the land, pay for training in fruit and vegetable production, and buy farm supplies and tools.

Mr. Agustino says, “Finally he got land. [It] is now yielding and his crops are being sold at the market … more veterans are considering joining.”

The WVA veterans are members of several South Sudanese tribes. The association’s work demonstrates that agriculture is one way for people to look beyond tribal differences and work together. The group has transformed their field from a wasteland of long grasses and weeds to a garden bursting with leafy vegetables and herbs.

The co-operative started by growing okra, kale, mulukhiyah (jute leaves) and coriander. Mr. Lodingareng says, “These … crops [mature] quickly, within one to two months. Okra is harvested every three to four days.”

Mr. Lodingareng sees the group expanding into surrounding land which is currently fallow. He says, “I’m looking at … crops like maize, potatoes, carrots and eggplant. The first year has been a struggle. The next year should be much better.”

According to Mr. Agustino, many SPLA veterans engage in crime rather than finding work. But Mr. Lodingareng refused to turn to cattle raiding or robbery. He has a vision for the future of South Sudan. He says: “I did my part to put my country on the path to self-determination. Now my approach is to work hard. Me, I will do anything that can pull me out of poverty and improve my situation financially.”

He believes it’s never too late to take up farming. He says, “The political climate has discouraged many from planting this season. But if everyone planted gardens, things will improve.”

To read the article on which this story was based, War veterans planting for peace in South Sudan, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/08/war-veterans-planting-for-peace-in-south-sudan/

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Zimbabwe: Elderly farmers neglected by government and NGOs (IRIN)

Girazi Mukumbaa farms in Wedza, about 160 kilometres southwest of the capital, Harare. The 64-year-old is “old school” when it comes to agricultural practices. He uses cow dung to fertilize his maize, relies on local herbs to treat his cattle, and avoids chemical fertilizers.

In recent years, Mr. Mukumbaa’s crops have repeatedly failed during dry spells. He would like to raise chickens or pigs to help sustain his family, but his age is proving to be a hindrance; community-based organizations think he is too old to merit assistance.

Wonder Chabikwa is the president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, or ZCFU. He says that younger farmers receive better support from NGOs. Young people are perceived as more energetic and easier to communicate with. Older people are often ignored, even though many households are dependent on their care and guidance.

The United Nations defines elderly people as those who are aged 60 and above. According to the UN Population Fund, six per cent of Zimbabwe’s population, over three-quarters of a million people, are elderly.

David Phiri is the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s sub-regional coordinator for southern Africa and Zimbabwe. He says: “Elderly persons make a great contribution to household food production in rural areas. They face the heavy burden of looking after [extended] families, as younger persons leave home to look for jobs elsewhere.”

Agricultural and food production experts say elderly people still make a significant contribution to household food security through farming. But older farmers are excluded from mainstream support programs such as those promoting techniques for adapting to climate change.

Mr. Chabikwa says older farmers, like younger ones, need training on soil management, adapting to climate change, marketing and diversification. He adds that households headed by elderly farmers are often more vulnerable to food shortages.

Many elderly people did not benefit from Zimbabwe’s fast-track land redistribution program, begun in the year 2000, when 4,500 white-owned farms were redistributed to about 300,000 small-scale farmers.

Innocent Makwiramiti is a Harare-based independent economist. He says: “This means that most [elderly farmers] remain farming on tired soils in largely dry areas that require much fertilizer and water, and [need] a great deal of farming support.”

Mr. Mukumbaa does not understand why he is routinely bypassed by officers from the Agriculture Ministry’s extension services and NGOs. He says: “Young men and women who have been told why there are so many droughts these days have no time to explain these things to old people like me. They say I am too old and therefore cannot understand a thing.”

Mr. Chabikwa says: “The irony about smallholder farming in Zimbabwe is that government and other stakeholders generally do not acknowledge the contributions that the elderly make to food production for families and the nation.”

To read the article on which this story was based, Zimbabwe’s neglected elderly farmers, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100566/zimbabwe-s-neglected-elderly-farmers

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