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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.

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Uganda: Farmers fall foul of exotic chickens (by Denis Ongeng, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Grace Ogwang Enoka has always kept chickens for meat and eggs, like her family before her. The family raised local breeds of chickens and other poultry for food and for income to buy essential goods.

In 2007, the Ugandan government launched the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund, or NUSAF. One facet of NUSAF was an egg production project. Farmers were encouraged to start keeping exotic chicken, especially layer hens.

Mrs. Ogwang lives in the town of Lira in northern Uganda, 320 kilometres north of Kampala. The 55-year-old mother of eight is a beneficiary of the NUSAF project. Until recently, she kept exotic birds to increase her household income.

Mrs. Ogwang recalls, “After attending a meeting organized by the project officers, I asked for 200 chicks. Many birds died in the first week of their arrival.” She adds, “Taking care of the birds was very demanding.”

Many farmers started keeping exotic layer chickens. As a result, more eggs were supplied to the market. Exotic breeds mature earlier, and often lay more eggs for a longer period of time.

But by the end of the first phase of the project in 2009, the situation had changed. Many farmers did not have the experience to successfully raise exotic chickens. Gradually, over the following years, they became discouraged and abandoned poultry raising.

Mrs. Ogwang says, “I walked out of the project. The demand [on my time] was high. Besides, the veterinary officer would visit our farm irregularly.” Getting quality feeds was another challenge.

Ojok Sam is another farmer who found it difficult to keep up with the program. He says, “The feed for the chickens was very expensive; I could not afford it.”

Many farmers had similar experiences and pulled out of commercial poultry keeping. The supply of eggs dwindled and local markets experienced shortages. Indigenous chicken breeds, which take longer to mature and lay for a shorter period, cannot produce enough eggs to meet market demand.

But the situation is not all bad. Richard Okwir is a poultry farmer in the town of Lira. He successfully manages a flock of exotic birds and sells feeds as a sideline. He says many farmers were put off by past failures and ongoing challenges, and are reluctant to return to commercial poultry. He adds, “As of now, eggs are transported for over 100 miles from Mbale district, in eastern Uganda.”

The drop in local supply has increased the price of a tray of 30 eggs by one-third to 8,500 Ugandan shillings [$3.30 US].

Mr. Okwir is encouraging farmers to take advantage of these high prices. He is trying to build the confidence of northern Ugandan farmers by training them how to farm poultry successfully.

Mr. Okwir has trained local farmers how to make feeds themselves with local ingredients. He says that good quality feeds are important for successfully raising exotic birds and, with a bit of knowledge, farmers can overcome this challenge.

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Tanzania: Loliondo FM − bringing a community together (by Adam Bemma, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Taking a break from the midday sun under a tree, Mindey Ndoinyo tunes the radio on his mobile phone to 107.7 Loliondo FM. The 20-year-old lives in a remote Maasai village called Ololosokwan, 15 kilometres south of the border with Kenya.

Mr. Ndoinyo is joined by two friends dressed in traditional red and black Maasai robes. The men fall silent as they listen to the music and chattering voices coming from the phone’s loudspeaker. Mr. Ndoinyo says: “I like to listen to music and news on the Maisha Mix program. I also enjoy the Maasai cultural program and the environmental lessons it teaches us.”

Loliondo FM is the first and only radio station broadcasting from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro district. Founded in 2013, the mandate of the non-commercial, community radio station is to provide a voice to Tanzania’s pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities.

The villages of Loliondo division are located in Ngorongoro district, north of Ngorongoro Crater and east of Serengeti National Park, two of Tanzania’s major tourist attractions. Local land disputes involving international investors have created a huge rift between Maasai herders and the Tanzanian government, making headlines around the world.

After a protracted two-year application process, Loliondo FM received its licence and started broadcasting last November. The tensions around land ownership disputes made the authorities wary of granting the licence. Joseph Munga is Loliondo FM’s Station Manager. He says: “In Tanzania, political leaders have a problem with community radio because it speaks from the grassroots. This scares leaders in our country.”

Across the border in Kenya, radio stations are allowed to broadcast in the language of their choice. For a long time, the only radio voices villagers heard late in the evening were in Swahili from the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation and a Maasai language station in Kenya.

Broadcasting regulations are different in Tanzania. Mr. Munga explains: “There’s a government regulation that we broadcast in Swahili, not in our Maasai language, so [that] we don’t promote conflict between different tribes or spread hate.”

Broadcasters on Loliondo FM do speak Maasai from time to time. Many callers cannot speak Swahili, and news reports are translated for these listeners one hour after the original broadcast. The station’s news service focuses on both its own community and on broader Tanzanian affairs.

Musa Leitura is a Loliondo FM broadcaster who was born and raised with his four brothers and two sisters in Ololosokwan. The 28-year-old says, “I’ve been trained by UNESCO as a community journalist. I’ve attended workshops on investigative journalism, ethics and corruption.”

He adds: “I like being a presenter because now I’m a leader in the community. The radio is a great channel to create harmony between clashing tribes, and to educate everyone in Loliondo.”

As Mr. Ndoinyo’s mobile phone battery weakens, the group of friends move off to borrow a radio from a local shop owner and continue listening to Loliondo FM.

Mr. Ndoinyo says: “Ngorongoro district is isolated. We don’t receive newspapers in Ololosokwan village. Many people listen to the radio to get information.”

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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-Zimbabwe: Children not being tested for HIV

Zimbabwean children who lack parental permission to undergo HIV testing are being turned away from clinics, and many do not come back.

The UN’s Development Program found that 200,000 Zimbabweans between 10 and 14 years of age are living with HIV. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reports that children between six and 15 years old are not getting adequate HIV testing and counselling.

In Zimbabwe, a child under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a consenting legal guardian to receive testing. The government is being urged to change its guidelines and to increase awareness of the high prevalence of HIV in children.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100185/young-zimbabweans-miss-out-on-hiv-testing

2-South Sudan: Children suffering from lack of education

One and a half million people have been displaced in South Sudan since the fighting between government and rebel forces began last December. About half of these are children.

According to the international NGO Save the Children, families are fleeing from camps for Internally Displaced People, or IDP camps, and taking their children across borders. Refugee camps often have better provision for children’s education than IDP camps.

Since the fighting began, more than 110,000 children in South Sudan have received only emergency education. As of May 2014, the education service had received 32 per cent of its required funding, far behind health at 52% and mine clearance, which has received 74% of needed funds.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100210/amid-the-violence-education-suffers-in-south-sudan

3-Djibouti: UN warns of drought

A UN official in Djibouti says the tiny Horn of Africa nation is confronting its fourth consecutive year of drought.

The city of Djibouti is facing a huge influx of people fleeing disease and malnutrition in the countryside. The UN Resident Coordinator for Djibouti, Robert Watkins, is appealing to donor countries to help meet the UN appeal for $74 million US.

Mr. Watkins says the biggest issue facing people in Djibouti is the lack of water. A countrywide water shortage has caused many cattle to perish. Unless rehydration centres are supported, many people may die from dehydration.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140612171432-vg3vo/?source=jtOtherNews3

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Call for applications: The journalist to journalist lung health media training fellowship

The National Press Foundation is offering all-expenses-paid fellowships for journalists to cover the 45th Union World Conference on Tuberculosis and Lung Health in Barcelona, Spain from October 27-November 1, 2014.

Journalists with at least three years of experience, including covering health issues, and who are interested in learning more about covering lung health, can apply for the fellowship.

Pre-conference training sessions run from October 27-29, and journalist fellows will continue to participate until the end of the conference on November 1.

The training and conference covers lung health and related issues, including tuberculosis, TB/HIV, asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), diabetes, tobacco control and the impact of air pollution. Journalists will learn about these diseases, the extent and impact of the problems they present, and the new research, solutions and innovations that are in the pipeline. The sessions also include practical training on turning scientific information into effective web, print and broadcast stories.

The fellowships cover conference registration, travel expenses, hotel accommodation and per diems.

Special attention will be given to applications from journalists in low- and middle-income countries. All sessions will be conducted in English, so proficiency in spoken and written English is essential.

The deadline for applications is July 18, 2014.

For more information, go to: http://nationalpress.org/programs-and-resources/program/lung-health-media-training-barcelona-spain-2014/

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Strategic communication for peacebuilding: a training guide

According to research carried out in western and central Africa by the NGO Search for Common Ground through its project, Radio: a platform for Peacebuilding (www.radiopeaceafrica.org), few governments are successfully communicating their policies to their citizens. There is a risk, therefore, that policies will not take hold, essential reforms will not occur, and conflicts will increase.

Search for Common Ground’s handbook, Strategic communications for peacebuilding, is designed to increase the knowledge and skills of radio broadcasters, particularly youth radio broadcasters. It also aims to identify and address complex and potentially divisive issues; to educate government officials on the importance of open and effective communication with communities; and to increase communication between civil society and policy-makers about government policies and decisions.

The handbook states that communication should be a two-way process, from government to people and back again, and between one section of society and another. The guide offers an approach to communication which creates an open space for dialogue on different levels and between different groups.

The guide is available free for download at this address: http://www.sfcg.org/programmes/rfpa/pdf/20100315trainingGuideEngFinal.pdf

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Save the date: Farmer e-course and competition returns!

Farm Radio International is excited to announce that its new online e-course and competition for radio broadcasters will begin in September.

Do you have a regular farmer program that you want to improve? Are you thinking about starting a farmer program but don’t know where to begin? This course will teach radio broadcasters how to make engaging, entertaining and informative farmer radio programs.

Participants will learn about storytelling, how to keep a show interesting, and how best to address the issues their audience finds important.

A new component in this year’s course covers Information and Communication Technologies, or ICTs. Participants will be given tools and training on how to reach out to their audience through mobile phones and polls – and an opportunity to try them out!

The Farmer program e-course and competition will run 12 weeks, beginning September 15, 2014. Course materials will be in English. The e-course and competition is open to radio broadcasters who are part of a radio station team in sub-Saharan Africa, and who did not participate in the 2012 e-course training. This course is offered in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

At the end of the course, participants can enter the competition by submitting a program design. There are exciting prizes available for the winners!

Stay tuned for more information, as registration will open in a few weeks’ time.

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To market, to market – Episode 2: A glut in the market: How supply and demand affect prices

This week’s story about raising chickens in Uganda mentions that, as supplies dwindle, market prices often rise.

Our script of the week is the second part of a five-part series on understanding and using market information. One of the critical benefits of having accurate information about the market is that farmers can then decide what crops to grow, and where and when to sell those crops in order to receive the best prices.

This script illustrates the laws of supply and demand. If there are large quantities of a certain product in the market – more supply than people can or will buy – prices usually decrease. On the other hand, if demand is high or supply is low – in other words, if people want more of a product than is available – prices frequently rise. Prices are often determined by how much of a product is available for sale at any given time.


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Kenya: Community project restores forest livelihoods (by Sawa Pius, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Zakaria Lihanda Masheti has lived next to Iloro forest since he was a child. His household is one of an estimated 5,000 that directly depend on the forest for a living. The 70-year old has witnessed the community gradually destroy the 490-hectare forest by burning charcoal, grazing animals, collecting fuelwood and  natural herbs, hunting, and other activities.

But thanks to a 40-year carbon credit project, the forest has started to recover over the last few years. The project, called Msitu tena (Swahili for Forest again) is operated by the Muileshi Community Forest Association. The organization signed an agreement with the Kenya Forest Service to manage the forest, and also with ECO2 Librium, an NGO that helps market carbon credits internationally.

For Mr. Zakaria, the project is more than just a blessing to the community; it’s also a source of income. Along with other community members, he has been planting indigenous trees. Local people raise seedlings and sell them to the project. The project employs them to mark out areas for planting and dig planting holes for the young trees, paying the locals cash for their work.

Mr. Zakaria says, “I have even managed to buy a dairy cow and paid school fees for my child, who has now almost completed secondary education.”

Sylvester Imbwaga is the secretary of the Muileshi Forest Association. He says about 120 community members are employed by the rehabilitation project. Each earns between 3,500 and 8,000 Kenyan shillings ($40-90 US), depending on the number of days worked.

Mr. Imbwaga adds: “We want to reduce the pressure on the forest. Everybody around the forest uses it for survival.”

Meshack Amalemba lives beside the forest. He welcomes the project and says it will bring back the forest’s lost glory. He says that herbs, birds, snakes, bees, and other animals were lost when the forest was cleared in the 1960s. He adds, “We are maintaining this not for ourselves but for our future generations.”

Perhaps the most important aspect of the project is the money that will be generated through the sale of carbon credits. Companies whose activities produce polluting gases such as carbon dioxide can buy carbon credits. These carbon credits are then used to pay communities to plant trees or undertake other activities which reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The trees capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and trap carbon in their trunks, branches and roots as they grow.

Carbon credit is a big business internationally, and a source of income for communities to channel into environmentally beneficial actions. The Msitu tena project will raise 200 million Kenyan shillings (close to $23,000 US). The community will split that money with ECO2 Librium and the Kenya Forest Service.

Christopher Amutabi works for ECO2 Librium. He says the project will be required to achieve specific targets. Over the 40-year life of the project, it must improve livelihoods, result in greater biodiversity and improve the conservation of the area.

In order for local people to receive their carbon money, they must plant trees and protect them until they mature. Other activities have already been introduced to help locals protect the forest. Beekeeping, fish farming, dairy cow projects, raising tree saplings, and energy-saving stoves are all proving popular. Future activities include raising snakes and developing tourism.

A total of 182 hectares of the forest have been replanted. It is expected that the whole 490-hectare area will have been rehabilitated in just a few years.

Mr. Imbwaga says there are plans to distribute milk coolers in the community, and to package and sell maize flour. The association has bought juicing machines to produce guava juice. He says, “All these are aimed at creating employment for the community.”

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Uganda: Village savings scheme improves widow’s life (By Geoffrey Ojok, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Terefina Ayo stands in her field of maize and recalls the problems she and her fellow villagers used to face. Food was scarce and housing poor. The 54-year-old had difficulty affording her son’s school fees. Even the basic necessities of life were hard to come by.

But that has all changed. Mrs. Ayo says, “Acamanaros Village Savings and Loans Association [AVSLA] has made all the difference.”

Mrs. Ayo lives in Olio sub-county in the eastern district of Serere, about 200 kilometres from Kampala. Her savings and loans association meets every Saturday and issues small loans to members. Members use the loans to buy farming inputs such as improved seeds or to invest the money in small businesses.

Sarah Atim says the savings scheme increased her income. The 35-year-old mother of four explains: “In addition to the bull I bought to help me plough more land in March this year, I used the money that I borrowed from the association to start a small business.” Mrs. Atim buys maize from farmers and re-sells it to larger buyers.

Michael Okello is the chairperson of AVSLA. He says, “Before giving a loan, we access the reasons given by the borrower [for wanting a loan] and [assess their] ability to repay.”

He adds, “Farmers now have the money they need to invest in their crops because loan interest is never higher than 10 per cent.” As a result of these investments, households now produce increased amounts of maize, sorghum, cassava and groundnuts for sale.

Albert Emukeu is a trainer for village banks in Serere district. He says, “There are 150 VSLA in Serere district but Acamanaros VSLA ranks as one of the best.”

The association’s greatest achievements have been improving links between farmers and buyers, and getting higher prices for members’ farm products. Members bring their produce to the association warehouse after harvest, and then committee members seek out buyers offering better prices for bulk sales.

Like many of the members, Mrs. Ayo has successfully tackled the problems she once faced. She has expanded her maize acreage with support from AVSLA.

She says: “Besides [setting up] my produce business, I used the money I borrowed from the association to pay school fees for my son, Charles, to go to Serere Royal Academy and take his Ordinary level exams. I am happy that he will join a building and carpentry course next year.”

Editors’ note: Acamanaros is the Ateso word forLet us agree.”

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Zimbabwe: Woman farmer on the rise (IRIN)

Ella Mubayiwa was a beneficiary of the Third Chimurenga, as the 2000 land reform program was known in Zimbabwe. The 60-year-old widow and mother of four had been living abroad, but was encouraged by her mother to return to Zimbabwe and claim land.

Mrs. Mubayiwa says, “I was in England after finishing a degree in business administration … when I heard that the president had authorized the reclamation of our land. We were bussed to different parts of the country and had the pick of the land.”

Mrs. Mubayiwa acquired a 99-year lease on a 35-hectare farm in Nyabira, about 30 kilometres west of the capital, Harare. Hers was one of 38 households resettled in 2000 on a former white-owned farm.

At first, she had to hire tractors because she had no other way to work her land. She began growing tobacco as a cash crop. By 2012, she was able to afford a tractor.

She still faces challenges accessing capital to finance her farm activities. Banks do not accept the 99-year government leases as collateral for loans. The lease gives leaseholders the right to farm state land, but does not grant them ownership of the land.

Mrs. Mubayiwa ventured into raising livestock, but was not successful – her four cattle died. Fortunately, her luck began to turn when she was chosen to be part of a government pilot project to produce maize seed. The project is operated by the government’s Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre, or SIRDC.

Edith Mazhawidza is the president of the Women Farmers Association. She negotiated a partnership between SIRDC and 11 female farmers. The farmers will produce SIRDC-developed maize seed on 200 hectares of plots across Zimbabwe.

Mrs. Mazhawidza says, “[SIRDC] supply seed, fertilizer and technical know-how.” The women are contractually bound to sell their harvest to SIRDC. After deducting the cost of inputs, the women are paid the difference. Growing maize seed is highly rewarding. A tonne of seed fetches up to $660 US, compared to $390 US for a tonne of maize grown for the dinner table.

Mrs. Mubayiwa is producing a promising crop of maize seed on 15 hectares. She says, “I am hopeful that because of the good rains, I’ll get a good harvest. I hope to double the hectarage next year.” She expects to harvest five tonnes per hectare.

Mrs. Mubayiwa employs 10 full-time workers who live on the farm with their families, and hires 15 seasonal labourers. She pays full-time workers $75 US a month and provides them with basic foods.

Her success at producing maize seed has encouraged her to use her house in Harare as collateral for a loan. She no longer wants to commute and wants to build a house on the farm. She also wants to install an irrigation system.

Mrs. Mubayiwa says: “I used to be wary of ceding the title deeds of my house to the bank as security because of the uncertainty of the rains … [but] the rainy season was good this year so I am willing to take a chance. I want to be a full-time farmer.”

To read the full article on which this story was based, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100135/zimbabwe-s-women-farmers-on-the-rise

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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-Eritrea: Fleeing forced labour

The UN Human Rights Council is calling on the Eritrean government to stop a program which is causing an exodus of refugees and spawning human rights violations.

Sheila Keetharuth is leading a UN investigation into human rights in Eritrea. She wrote that torture, sexualized violence and extra-judicial killings are continuing unabated under the regime of President Isaias Afwerki.

The report states that the government’s national service program is an indefinite conscription that amounts to forced labour. Many people are put to work in reforestation, soil and water conservation, and reconstruction efforts. An estimated 2,000 people flee Eritrea each month, according to UNHCR.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140527133126-lmv3i/?source=jtOtherNews2

2-Somalia: Refugees return from Kenya

Amnesty International has criticized the Kenyan government for the “illegal deportation” of Somalis to Mogadishu during its counter-terrorism operation.

The Somali government has protested the treatment of its nationals, many of whom are refugees in Kenya. Over the last two months, many Somalis have been arrested and deported by Kenyan authorities.

The governments of Somalia and Kenya, along with the UNHCR, signed an agreement last year concerning the voluntary repatriation of Somali nationals. Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister has now refused to meet with Kenyan officials to discuss implementing the agreement.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140527115235-1higl/?source=jtOtherNews2

3-South Sudan: Pastoralists homeless after fleeing conflict

Sudanese pastoralists and farmers affected by the fighting in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state have returned to their original homelands in Sennar state, Sudan.

The state’s governor has marked two villages as resettlement sites for the nomads and farmers. But the displaced people face challenges in accessing water, education and other basic services. Some complain that plots are not being properly distributed by state authorities.

Pastoralists and farmers are calling on the Sudanese government to help them rebuild their livelihoods, which were lost during the conflict across the border in South Sudan.

To read the full article, go to: https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/sennar-pastoralists-face-challenges-after-fleeing-south-sudan-fighting

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Call for entries: APO Media awards

The African Press Organization is inviting submissions for its 2014 APO Media Award.

The awards celebrate brilliant and inspiring stories about Africa. Submissions may focus on a single topic or cover a variety of subjects, including, but not limited to, business, economy, technology, agriculture, health, energy, gender, not-for-profit issues, diplomacy and the environment.

African journalists and bloggers are eligible for the Award, whether directly employed or working freelance in Africa. Submissions can include stories broadcast or published in English, French, Portuguese or Arabic as a print publication, television feature, radio story, website or blog whose primary audience is based in Africa.

Stories must have been broadcast or published between January and August 2014.

Stories will be judged on content, writing, analysis, creativity, human interest and community impact.

All stories must be submitted in electronic format. TV material must first be uploaded to YouTube, and radio material to SoundCloud. If you are not a member of these sites, you will need to sign up in order to upload the video or radio material. Once you have obtained the link, you must enter it in the online entry form at: http://www.apo-opa.com/apo_media_award.php?L=E.

Interested journalists can follow APO on Twitter: (http://twitter.com/apo_source) and use their hashtag #APOMediaAward for more information.

The first-place winner will be presented with $500 US per month for one year, a laptop, a ticket for an intercontinental flight to a destination of his or her choice, and one year of access to over 600 airport VIP lounges worldwide.

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Are you recording your Skype interviews?

Many journalists use recording devices when conducting interviews, either to air the interviews later on the radio, or to verify their facts.

Many journalists are conducting interviews via the Web, and it has become easier to record Skype calls.

Skype does not itself support call recording. But some third-party developers have created applications that you can “plug into” Windows, Mac and Linux versions of Skype and record your calls.

Some applications are free, while others carry a charge. Find out more about the different versions on the Skype website: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA12395/how-can-i-record-my-skype-calls

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How can you listen to the radio when there’s no signal? Via motorbikes!

Radio boda boda is an innovative Information and Communication Technology, or ICT, project developed and supported by Farm Radio International’s Radio and ICT innovation lab.

Many farmers live in remote rural areas. Those living in the village of Ngarenairobi, west of Mount Kilimanjaro, cannot receive radio signals from FRI’s broadcasting partners Moshi FM and Sauti ya Injili. Radio boda-boda supplies pre-recorded farming programs on SD memory cards. The cards are delivered by motorcycle taxis, or boda bodas, to the remote community listening groups.

With this innovative delivery system, Farm Radio International has supported projects run by World Vision Tanzania and Irish Aid.

The memory cards operate on FreePlay wind-up or solar-powered radios. This makes it possible for community listening groups that are unable to tune in to live farmer programs to reap the benefits from the programming.

The radio sets can also to record listeners’ comments on the memory cards. Thus, when the cards are returned to the stations, the program makers and project staff can hear feedback on their programming from these remote communities. To find out more about the projects in question, visit the FRI website: http://www.farmradio.org/projects/

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Paying farmers for environmental services

This week’s story from Kenya talks about a community that is undertaking certain activities in exchange for receiving carbon credits. The activities include tree planting, beekeeping, and fish farming. This project is one example of paying farmers to provide environmental services which benefit the community. Indeed, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, these activities benefit the whole world.

In 2009, FRI published a script on paying farmers for environmental services. The script reported on a project in Malawi operated by a variety of international organizations and the government of Malawi. The project trained farmers to grow trees in order to store carbon. The trees benefited farmers directly by providing timber and firewood, but only after they had matured in a number of years. Until the trees matured, the project paid farmers for the use of their land and for properly managing the trees. The amount of the first payment depended on the numbers of trees a farmer planted, while subsequent payments depended on the number of surviving trees.

Tree planting is a long-term project, and the benefits often take years to become apparent. A forest produces more than just wood: what does your community think?


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Central African Republic: Work for peace project (IRIN)

Thousands of youth in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, will be given jobs in a new donor-funded public works scheme. The project is designed to improve infrastructure and reduce the level of violence which has claimed hundreds of lives in recent months.

Eric Levron is the livelihood advisor at the UN Development Programme, or UNDP. UNDP is funding the four-year $31-million US scheme along with other donors.

Mr. Levron says: “It’s obvious that a large part of the reason for the crisis here is lack of jobs for young people. If there were more job opportunities, there would be fewer gangs and less crime in Bangui.”

Bangui has been the scene of unprecedented violence since December 2013. Muslims are being targeted by militias known as anti-balaka. The anti-balaka groups are being blamed for atrocities committed across the country since CAR fell into civil war after a coup led by Seleka militias.

Lucien Gon is a spokesperson for CAR’s public works agency, AGETIP. Mr. Gon says the project’s objective is to employ youth so they will stop looting and destroying property.

The scheme is slated to employ several thousand people. Private employers contracted by AGETIP must limit unskilled employees’ contracts to not more than 45 days, in order to maximize the number of people who can be employed unblocking drainage ditches and sewers, and improving roads.

Companies must also raise their rate of pay for unskilled employees.

Frederic Linardon is the country director for Agence d’Aide à la Coopération Technique et au Développement. The NGO has been supervising a public works project in Bangui. Mr. Linardon says that one month of work at the new pay rate would help many young people get back to working for themselves.

Mr. Linardon explains: “Our experience with a cash-for-work program showed that many young people can save enough money with a contract of just one month to re-launch the kind of activity they had before the crisis − as street vendors, for example.”

All the labour-intensive work is to take place in Bangui. But Mr. Gon says the work will be extended outside the capital when security conditions permit, initially in the southwest.

To read the article on which this story is based, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100041/work-for-peace-scheme-for-car

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Cote d’Ivoire: Saving West Africa’s last intact tropical rainforest through ecotourism (IPS)

Jonas Sanhin Touan has big dreams. He sits under a canopy in Gouleako, near the entrance to Côte d’Ivoire’s Taï National Park, and waits for tourists to come and buy his food.

He hopes to raise enough money to build a hotel on the three hectares of land which he has purchased outside the park. Mr. Touan points to an area of bush and says, “Here will be the restaurant.”

Taï National Park is one of the last intact tropical rainforests in West Africa. It is the region’s largest tropical forest and was designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The park is close to the Liberian border in southwestern Côte d’Ivoire, and is only accessible from the capital, Abidjan, by a seven-hour drive on a potholed path.

But Mr. Touan’s dream is not only threatened by the lack of reliable public transport. The area is also affected by conflict and sporadic violence, as well as encroaching deforestation. Carefully planted fields of cocoa, coffee, rubber and palm oil trees now occupy an area once covered in lush tropical vegetation.

Ecotourism may be a solution for those locals in search of a better and sustainable future. Since January 2014, about 100 tourists have taken part in a tour organized by the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, or WCF, together with the Ivorian department of forest protection.

Ecotourism is still new and the numbers of tourists modest. Mr. Touan admits, “Of course this will take time. But this area is beautiful. I think that ecotourism will bring desperately needed money.”

Currently, 80 per cent of villagers earn their living by growing cocoa, often slashing and burning the forest to increase their harvesting area. Many animal species, including chimpanzees and pygmy hippopotami, are now endangered.

Christophe Boesch is a primatology professor and WCF’s West Africa director. He says the population pressure around the park is very important, and the current migration of people to the area is a direct consequence of global warming.[ST1] [VC2]

Professor Boesch explains, “West Africa faced dramatic climate changes in the last 50 to 60 years. The Sahel region has become a desert.” Ivorian and foreign migrants have made Côte d’Ivoire the world’s biggest cocoa producer, but at the cost of its forests.

In Gouleako, the villagers perform a traditional ceremony and serve palm wine to half a dozen tourists seated on couches. Later, they will guide the tourists along the muddy trails of the park to see the chimpanzees, or sail on the Cavally River which divides Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.

Emmanuelle Normand is WCF’s country director in Côte d’Ivoire. She says, “We hope by this project to teach people, more the local population than the tourists, about the added value of a forest.” Similar projects in the Great Lakes region have been successful at helping endangered species survive.

Valentin Emmanuel is the deputy chief of Gouleako. He remembers that when he was young, elephants crossed rice paddies and chimpanzees emerged from the forest to play in cocoa trees.

He adds, “Before, we were living with the wildlife close to us. Now, you have to go far away, deep into the forest, to see that.”

Mr. Touan knows that the only way to return the forest to its former glory is to introduce more people to it. He says, “Cocoa planters have a very difficult life. Ecotourism is an opportunity for a better future.”

To read the full article on which this story is based, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/05/ivorians-learn-save-one-last-intact-tropical-rainforests-west-africa-exploiting-tourism/

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Ghana: Community-based volunteers improve access to health services (IPS)

A few years ago, Zainab Abubakar was an ordinary woman living in Kpilo, a rural area in Ghana’s Northern Region. But now she provides basic medical diagnoses and treatments, and saves the lives of many children.

Kpilo is a 12-kilometre walk from the nearest medical facility, which is the only formal treatment centre for nearly 40 northern communities. In northern Ghana, less than ten per cent of communities outside the regional capital, Tamale, have a local clinic.

But, instead of making the long trek to a crowded health centre, mothers can now take their sick children to Ms. Abubakar. When she sees children with symptoms such as sweating, weakness and fever, she can differentiate between cases of pneumonia and malaria. She can also treat and provide medication for these illnesses.

Ms. Abubakar says, “In [cases of malaria], I bathe the child and then I dissolve one tablet of amodiaquine in a small clean cup and give it to the child to drink.”

Ms. Abubakar is one of 16,500 community-based volunteers, or CBVs, trained by the Ghana Health Service, or GHS. The CBVs manage common childhood diseases in communities without access to healthcare facilities. GHS supplies the medication to treat the illnesses. While medication is free, most people offer about 20 US cents as a token payment for their medication.

This rural health initiative, called Integrated Community Case Management or ICCM, is supported by UNICEF and funded by the U.S. government.

Since 2007, CBVs in Ghana’s four northern regions have been trained to reduce the high rate of child mortality. Pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria account for two of every five child deaths.

Mr. Alhassan Abukari is the assistant project coordinator for ICCM in GHS’s Northern Regional Health Directorate. He says the lack of resources and personnel means that GHS is unable to provide medical care to most communities.

Mr. Abukari says it is more difficult to provide services in northern communities because they are hard to reach and frequently cut off because of flooding during the rainy season.

He adds: “A sizeable number of people in peri-urban communities of the region do not have access to health facilities, so these volunteers are really bridging the very wide gap that existed.”

Ms. Abubakar and the other CBVs are not paid for their work. But she is happy saving lives. She is motivated by the fact that every child belongs to the community, and it’s her passion to serve the community.

Mahama Abdullah is the chief of Kpilo. He says, “Since these CBVs started working in this community, the health of children here has improved.”

To read the article on which this story was based, go to: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/04/ghanas-rural-villages-longer-record-child-deaths/

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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-South Sudan: Facing famine and cholera outbreak

The President of South Sudan says his country faces “one of the worst famines ever“ if the conflict between government and rebel forces does not end immediately.

The UN South Sudan Crisis Response Plan states that over seven million people could go hungry by August, with an estimated quarter of a million children facing severe acute malnutrition. The international NGO Oxfam says the country is also facing a cholera outbreak.

The United Nations Security Council has accused both sides in the conflict of responsibility for the violence and is threatening sanctions. Nearly one million people are internally displaced or have fled the country as refugees.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27469954

2-Ethiopia: Family farmers feed the world

The International Fund for Agricultural Development, or IFAD, states that 500 million small-scale farming families produce up to 80 per cent of the food consumed in the developing world.

At a recent conference in Addis Ababa, IFAD President Dr. Kanayo Nwaze said that investing in small-scale farmers is investing in the resilience of food systems. He noted that small-scale farmers are often unable to invest during crises because they lack assets, insurance, financial services and social safety nets.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn stated that Ethiopia is improving small-scale farmers’ options by strengthening agricultural marketing systems, providing irrigation and reducing land degradation.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201405190799.html?aa_source=mf-hdlns

3-Somalia: Another famine on the horizon?

The UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia says that $60-million US is needed immediately to deliver food and water to 850,000 people in Somalia and save the lives of 50,000 children.

The matter is, however, complicated because of a ban on delivery of food aid to parts of the country controlled by the militant group Al-Shabaab.

The UN is calling on donors to help Somalia. The country suffered a famine in 2011. A quarter of a million people, many of them children, died after two harvests failed. Drought, a shortage of aid money and conflict have disrupted the current planting season, leading UN officials to fear that another famine is on the horizon.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20140519135609-pxg8c/?source=jtOtherNews2

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Call for applications: Seminar on global security coverage

Print, broadcast and online journalists worldwide are invited to apply for funding to attend a three-day seminar in London.

TrustMedia, a Thomson Reuters Foundation Service, is inviting journalists to apply for its Global Security Seminar 2014. The seminar will bring together leading security experts, authoritative commentators and journalists for a series of presentations and debates on the world’s most pressing security and terrorism issues.

Topics will include terrorism in East Africa, the continuing turmoil in the Middle East, and cybersecurity.

Journalists from across the globe with at least five years of experience in print, broadcast or online media are eligible. Participants must be fluent in English. Submissions from African journalists in countries with ongoing security challenges are particularly encouraged.

The program will take place from October 22-24. The application deadline is June 30, 2014.

For more information and to apply, go to: http://www.trust.org/course/?id=a05D000000KOtXnIAL

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