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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

Malawi: Widow harvests prosperity with cassava (by Mark Ndipita, for Farm Radio Weekly)

It is a hot sunny day and Agnes Kandodo is busy inspecting the crops in her cassava field. The widowed mother of two uproots a cassava plant and smiles. The tubers look mature, big enough to eat and ready to sell. She puts them in a basket and returns home to prepare the afternoon meal.

Mrs. Kandodo lives in Kumayani, a village about 25 kilometres southwest of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. Her cassava has taken her from poverty to prosperity.

Mr. Kandodo died in 2000, leaving his widow almost destitute. Mrs. Kandodo says: “My late husband left me with two daughters. We could [no longer] afford city life and we were forced to move to Kumayani where my late husband [had] bought a piece of land.” The family slept in a chicken coop because there was no house on the land.

Mrs. Kandodo needed a reliable income to support her family. She recalls: “At first I thought of poultry farming, but I realized that feed was very expensive. I then planted cassava because it does not require fertilizer.”

In 2001, there was no cassava within 15 kilometres of her farm and Mrs. Kandodo had difficulties finding planting materials. But, 20 kilometres away, she managed to find a large enough supply to start her plantation. She carried 25 heavy bundles of cassava cuttings all the way to her farm.

After her first harvest, Mrs. Kandodo sold the tubers and replanted her field. She harvested more than enough cuttings to plant her entire plot, which is about the size of a football field. Then she sold the remaining cuttings to farmers who became interested in cassava after seeing how Mrs. Kandodo was profiting from the crop.

David Zakariya started growing cassava in 2004. He also farms in Kumayani. Mr. Zakariya explains: “In 2003, we had poor rains, but Mrs. Kandodo managed to harvest cassava. She sold [tubers] to many people in our area and she never lacked food at her house. This impressed me. [I started] growing cassava because [my] maize had poor yields.”

Mr. Zakariya says cassava is in high demand in the area. He adds, “Buyers come to us and buy cassava right on the farm … we do not [shoulder the] transport costs to sell our cassava.”

Hodges Nkhoma is the government agricultural extension worker in Kumayani. He says, “Climate change has made the weather and rains unpredictable. Hence, farmers should diversify by growing different crops, including drought-resistant crops such as cassava.”

But Mr. Nkhoma warns cassava farmers about mosaic disease. The disease is especially common when planting cuttings that have been used for a number of years. He says: “Farmers should always uproot, bury or burn cassava crops that have signs of disease such as discoloured leaves and stunted growth. Such plants will not produce tubers and may affect others.”

Since 2004, Mrs. Kandodo has been steadily reinvesting her profits in land, and now has 18 hectares. She still grows cassava, but also plants maize and raises chickens, pigs and goats to boost her income. She built a house with solar electricity and can afford to pay for her two daughters to go to school.

What is her secret? Mrs. Kandodo explains, “I sell cassava during the rainy season. It’s easy to harvest by hand, the [cuttings] can be easily replanted and they germinate well.”

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Mali: Mamadou Cissé and the watermelon thieves (by Meli Rostand, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Mamadou Cissé is a broadcaster with Radio Welena in Nossombougou, a remote area 75 kilometres north of Bamako, in southwestern Mali. He has worked at the station for 12 years. Mr. Cissé is the presenter of a farmer program called Biminimissa, or “Pioneer farmers,” and owns a farm in a nearby village. He rotates crops through the seasons, alternating maize, millet and watermelon on his two-hectare farm.

Last farming season, his watermelon yield was so good that thieves began to visit his farm, pilfering the best fruits as they matured. But he noticed a pattern. The watermelons disappeared only when he was presenting an evening program. So he devised a cunning plan. He had always presented his show live on-air. But one day, he sat down in front of his microphone and inserted a cassette into the tape deck. He pressed the record button and began to speak into the microphone. Now the show could air while he kept watch over the farm.

The trap was set. The recorded episode began with Mr. Cissé’s usual introduction. But the broadcaster was seven kilometres away from the studio, keeping an eye on his farm. The thieves listened to Mr. Cissé’s program near the farm, waiting for the right moment, unaware of Mr. Cisse’s whereabouts. At the end of the program intro, they seized their chance. They crept into his field, keeping their eyes open for the best fruits. From his hiding place, Mr. Cissé recognized their voices— a well-known hunter and his wife.

The thieves reached the middle of the field, tapping watermelons and listening for the hollow sound of mature fruit. Just then, Mr. Cissé turned on his torch and emerged from his hiding place. He declared, “So you are the ones doing my harvest these days.” Taken by surprise, the thieves exclaimed, “This is devilish! How can somebody be on air and on his farm at the same time!”

Before he could nab the couple, they turned their backs and fled, disappearing into the darkness. But the news spread quickly across an amazed village. Ashamed, the couple returned a few days later to apologize, and the thieves and the DJ now live together peacefully in the village.

Having saved his watermelons from thieves, Mr. Cissé earned 400,000 Central African francs (about $800 U.S.) from his harvest. He used part of the money to buy two bulls and a cart to ease his farm work.

In July and August 2014, Meli Rostand conducted research for Farm Radio International at six radio stations in Mali and Burkina Faso, including Radio Welena. His work is part of FRI’s African Radio Research Program Initiative (ARRPA). In 2011, FRI conducted research at 22 radio stations and organizations in five other countries; Meli’s work concentrates on Francophone stations in Mali and Burkina Faso. Through Meli’s research, FRI hopes to get a clearer picture of the conditions under which farmer radio programs are created in Francophone West Africa, of the strengths of the radio stations and the challenges they face, and of how to better support our broadcasting partners.

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FRW news in brief

1-West Africa: Radio informs public about Ebola

Radio Kintoma has been dispelling the rumours that Ebola is a plot by the government to frighten the population.

The community radio station in Voinjama, a Liberian town just south of the border with Guinea, has been broadcasting messages about Ebola since the outbreak began in May.

Mary is a small-scale farmer from northern Liberia’s Lofa Province. She says, “I now believe Ebola is real and it kills people every day.”

Radio Kintoma is providing crucial education on how Ebola is transmitted from one person to another. People have learned to stop burying their own dead, to wait for health workers to come and tend to sick people, and to stop shaking hands and engaging in other everyday social rituals which increase the risk of transmission.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140925093608-a5osu/?utm

2-Nigeria: Ebola and the media

Nigeria reportedly has the eighth largest Internet population in the world – 67 million users. There are also nearly 166 million mobile phone subscribers in a population of 175 million.

With so many Nigerians online, websites such as ebolalert.org and ebolafacts.com have become important channels for providing accurate information to help people stay safe. They complement telephone hotlines and more traditional public health approaches.

According to UNICEF Communications Specialist Geoffrey Njoku, over a six-week period, nearly 60,000 people received more than 3.6 million texts with key messages about Ebola and how to stay protected.

Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu has declared survivors of Ebola to be the “safest people to be around,” given their new immunity to the virus.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100674/ebola-and-the-media-nigeria-s-good-news-story

3-Great Lakes: Experts warn of ‘dire consequences’ as Lake Victoria’s water levels drop further

Climate experts say the rise in global temperature is affecting rainfall patterns over Lake Victoria.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report states that increased warming and rainfall in the western Indian Ocean will lead to climate extremes in East Africa.

Professor Hannes Rautenbach from the University of Pretoria says, “The rain belt over Uganda will shift.” The report argues that Lake Victoria, which has been receiving high volumes of rain, will soon experience a 20 per cent drop in rainfall.

This decrease, coupled with increased evaporation due to higher air and water temperatures, will cause a drop in water levels in the near future.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/09/experts-warn-of-dire-consequences-as-lake-victorias-water-levels-drop-further/

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Call for applications: Investigative science journalism fellowship for the Global South

SciDev.Net, with support from the Association of British Science Writers, encourages investigative science journalism in the Global South. The organization is currently offering a fellowship which will enable a journalist to carry out a detailed investigation.

The fellowship is open to all science journalists who are employed by or freelance for a media outlet, and are living and working in non-OECD countries.

The fellowship is intended to support a journalist who would otherwise not be able to carry out this work. The successful applicant will receive a cash prize of 3,500 GBP ($5,837 U.S.), a laptop, mentoring support from experts in science journalism, and training and conference opportunities.

Applicants should apply in English using the application form on the SciDev.Net website. The application should be emailed with a copy of your CV and two examples of published or broadcast investigative work (in any language) to: award@scidev.net.

An application document and further information on eligibility criteria is available. You can access the application form and other documents at: http://www.scidev.net/global/content/announcements_notice.4E56778E-D464-4A93-9F9AB3C65149FC11.html

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m., British Summer Time (4 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time), October 10, 2014

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World Food Day 2014 focuses on family farming

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations marks World Food Day each year on October 16, the anniversary of the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945.

The UN General Assembly has designated 2014 as the “International Year of Family Farming.” This is a strong signal that the international community recognizes the important contribution of family farmers to world food security.

The theme of the 2014 World Food Day is Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth. This theme was chosen to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farmers. It focuses world attention on the significant role that family farming plays in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, especially in rural areas.

See the FAO World Food Day website for more information and useful links for preparing programs and events for the day. Go to: http://www.fao.org/world-food-day/home/en/

More resources are available at this address: http://www.fao.org/world-food-day/resources/en/

An infographic highlights information relevant to the Day. You can find it here: http://www.fao.org/resources/infographics/infographics-details/en/c/230925/

You can follow FAO’s World Food Day Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/FAOWFD

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Radio Gbarnga at centre of efforts to inform Liberians about Ebola

As West Africa experiences the largest ever outbreak of Ebola, misconceptions abound. Many in Liberia, afraid of the health authorities, care for their sick relatives at home, thereby exposing themselves to the virus.

Jefferson Massah and Radio Gbarnga are working to counter misconceptions about Ebola with better information, communicated through the radio.

Mr. Massah is a radio broadcaster from Bong County in north central Liberia. Through training programs with Farm Radio International, he has learned about the power of radio to inform and engage an audience. With his team at Radio Gbarnga, Jefferson is making sure Liberians can recognize Ebola, understand it is an often fatal disease, and know where to turn for help.

Radio Gbarnga and other radio stations in Bong County have joined the social mobilization team of the local Ebola task force. The team meets three times a week to receive updates on the situation, and then Radio Gbarnga uses this information to keep their audience up-to-date with the latest news. The station also conducts interviews with local health authorities and international organizations working in their community.

A recent broadcast aired information on a new treatment centre and updates from Save the Children and the Red Cross. Here is an excerpt from that program:

“Welcome to Ebola Situation Report, a radio production on Radio Gbarnga to provide updates about the Ebola situation in central Liberia. Coming up on Ebola Situation Report today, the leadership of Bong County embarks on a search for a temporary centre to contain Ebola patients, while a 40-bed quarantine treatment centre is under construction by the British charity Save the Children…. Nearly all health centres now abandoned by both patients and health workers in Bong County. We will speak with the officer in charge of a community clinic in Kpaai district. What is the Liberian National Red Cross Society doing in the fight against the Ebola virus? …

I am Jefferson Massah with the Ebola Situation Report.“

Radio Gbarnga also incorporates messages on Ebola prevention into its news and current affairs programs, and one hour a day is dedicated to listeners calling in to provide updates on the situation in their communities. The radio station team has extended its broadcast day by an additional two hours to ensure their community receives the information it needs.

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It’s better to sell together: The benefits of collective marketing

This week’s story from Malawi introduces a woman who has done well as a cassava farmer. Our script of the week profiles Tanzanian farmers – and processors – who have benefited from group marketing of cassava.

In Tanzania, cassava has undergone a personality change of late. Cassava was considered a subsistence food, and a food strongly associated with a particular culture and particular customs.

But now, cassava is ubiquitous. You can find cassava flour, raw cassava tubers and fried cassava snacks everywhere ― in markets, on the roadside, in supermarkets, and in the hands of female vendors in traffic jams.

This script looks at the cassava value chain, the challenges of positioning cassava in the marketplace, and how collective marketing is helping both cassava producers and cassava processors.


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Rebuilding lives

Welcome to Farm Radio Weekly. Issue #306 highlights stories from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo about rebuilding after conflict has shattered lives. We also present a story from Côte d’Ivoire about prisoners learning farming skills in prison.

Micheline Kavuo was forced to flee her farm and live a city life when hostilities broke out in northeastern DRC. But now that the Congolese army have repulsed the rebels and the authorities are making the countryside safer, she and her brother are starting to farm again.

Facing Justice was a biweekly radio program which aired on stations across northern Uganda. During its four-year lifetime, the program helped rebuild a community fractured by two decades of war. Now, its successor is carrying the torch of peace and reconciliation.

Prison life can be dark, depressing and dangerous. But it can also provide an environment where offenders are rehabilitated and learn valuable skills. A prison farm in Côte d’Ivoire is offering inmates a chance to escape overcrowded cells, eat better, and prepare for life on the outside.

October 2, 2014, is the International Day of Non-violence. The Day promotes using non-violence during protests and when demonstrating against injustice. Will your station organize a feature show on the Day? Follow the hyperlink for more information and resources.

The Ebola outbreak is still affecting communities across West Africa. Unfortunately, there has also been an outbreak of cholera in Ghana. Our Action section below features a script which can be used as a public service announcement. Please use it if cholera threatens people in your broadcast area.

Have a great week, and keep broadcasting!

-the Farm Radio Weekly Team

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Democratic Republic of Congo: Farmer recovers as DRC conflict ends (by Jacques Kikuni Kokonyange, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Tears well up in Micheline Kavuo’s eyes as she remembers everything she lost.

Ms. Kavuo is a farmer from Mamoundioma, a village 50 kilometres from the city of Beni, in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Like many other farmers in the region, she had to abandon her five-hectare plot when a Ugandan-backed rebel army invaded.

For three long years, she could not set foot on her farm. Forced to take refuge in the city, Ms. Kavuo found a job in a bakery which paid $50 U.S. per month. She had a hard time making ends meet.

She says, “I lost my cocoa plantation because those terrorists ravaged my farm. But today I am happy … to have recovered my land.”

She finally returned to her fields in June of this year, after the Congolese army pushed the rebels back across the border. She found nothing but withered cocoa plants. She says, “It looked like a hurricane had ripped through [the field].”

It is early in the morning but Ms. Kavuo is already at work, weeding her field. Her younger brother is beside her, pruning the few remaining cocoa trees with a machete. Little by little, things are returning to normal on the farm.

Like Ms. Kavuo, more and more farmers are returning to the countryside. The provincial government has begun to rebuild roads in rural areas to help farmers resume their lives. Police sweep the area for unexploded mines.

The government distributed improved seeds to help farmers who had lost almost everything. Ms. Kavuo planted cassava and plantains. Both are in high demand in surrounding towns.

She sold her first harvest only three months after returning to the farm. The proceeds allowed her to pay off some debts. She also rebuilt her dilapidated house. She says: “I profited from taking my harvests to the market in the city of Oicha. Buyers came to me … I felt like a princess because I am one of the few women who has been able to get back into farming after the end of the conflict.”

She is hoping to get a loan from a local farmers’ co-operative to diversify her crops. She says, “I also need the help of an agronomist so that I can prevent my banana trees and cassava plants from being attacked by parasites.”

Encouraged by her first harvest, Ms. Kavuo is daring to dream of bigger things.

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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.


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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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