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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.

Issue # 138

Dear subscribers,

We are happy to welcome many more subscribers this week: Orou Mohamed Orou Goura from Fraternité FM in Benin; Arouna Togola from Radio Canal 2000 and Bakary Coulibaly from Radio Kayira Bamako in Mali; Sani Garba from the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Kaduna in Nigeria and Abou Cedrick Fofana from the ONG Partages in Côte d’Ivoire.

We also welcome more than 20 new subscribers from all over the world who signed up during the recent Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in India. You can read more about Farm Radio International’s attendance at this event below.

This week we are pleased to mark World AIDS day by presenting two more original stories. Farmers in Zimbabwe tell Farm Radio Weekly that they know about HIV and AIDS − but they know little of World AIDS Day. Some would like to be more involved in activities and participate in raising awareness.

From Tanzania, we hear from a farmer who describes how he felt on discovering he was HIV-positive. But he did not sit back and wait to become ill. He decided to do something positive for his family.

In the resource section we provide you with a website address where you will be able to view many of the presentations from AMARC’s 2009 Pan-African Conference.

Finally, our script of the week is also on the topic of HIV and AIDS.

Happy reading!

-The Farm Radio Weekly team

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In this week’s Farm Radio Weekly:

African Farm News in Review

1. Zimbabwe: Farmers want more involvement with World AIDS Day (by Zenzele Ndebele, for Farm Radio Weekly in Zimbabwe)

2.Tanzania: Keeping chickens revived my life (by Lazarus Laiser for Farm Radio Weekly in Tanzania)

Upcoming Events

-Young Environmental Journalist Award Africa: Deadline 31 December

Radio Resource Bank

-AMARC 2009 documents available online

Farm Radio Action

-Farm Radio International and partners attend the Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning

Farm Radio Script of the Week

-HIV/AIDS: Preventing mother-to-child transmission

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1. Zimbabwe: Farmers want more involvement with World AIDS Day (by Zenzele Ndebele, for Farm Radio Weekly in Zimbabwe)

Mrs. Sihle Ndlovu can tell you many things about HIV and AIDS.  But she knew nothing of World AIDS Day until November 2010 when she was asked about the Day. She says, “I know that AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease. Almost everyone in this village has been affected in one way or the other by this disease. But I really do not have any idea about World AIDS Day.”

Mrs. Ndlovu is a farmer from Plumtree, in southwestern Zimbabwe.  She is convinced that farmers in her area would like to be involved in activities on World AIDS Day if properly sensitized. She explains, “Different people come to teach us about HIV and AIDS, but no one briefed us about World AIDS Day. We would love to do something because people are dying every day.”

Mrs. Alice Ndlovu (no relation) lives in Nyamandlovu resettlements, 40 kilometers south of Bulawayo. She explains that farmers need thorough knowledge on the aim of World AIDS Day if they are to play important roles on the Day.  She says, “Programs and activities for World AIDS Day are prepared by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.  Farmers are just invited to attend and we do not even know the aim behind the activities.”

But not every farmer is unaware of this Day. Mrs. Senzeni Maphosa from Marula explains, “World AIDS Day is a day set aside to remember people living with the virus.” She continues that she knows little about the activities  on World AIDS Day, but “ … my thinking is that it is merely commemorated to recognize the presence of people who are suffering from AIDS within our society.” However, there have not been any activities for World AIDS Day in Marula for many years. There is no local organization which works with HIV and AIDS.

Mr. Thabani Moyo is a resettled farmer in Mguza district. He says communal farmers can play a key role in the fight against HIV and AIDS during the commemoration. “The World AIDS Day aims to unite those with AIDS and those without. I have taken part in workshops in which we source food for distribution to people living with AIDS and orphaned children, but I think there is more that still needs to be done to ensure that farmers are informed adequately.”

Contrary to what many farmers say about World AIDS Day, HIV and AIDS advocacy groups in Zimbabwe say that farmers have sound knowledge about the AIDS pandemic.  They hold celebrations yearly to commemorate World AIDS Day.

Mr. Fred Sibanda is the Behavior Change Programme Officer for Matabeleland AIDS Council in Zimbabwe. He says, “Small-scale farmers are aware of the World AIDS Day commemorations in Zimbabwe because we tell them about such important dates during our outreach programmes and awareness campaigns in rural areas.”

Mr. Orirando Manwere is the National AIDS Council Public Relations Officer. He says the theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is a continuation of last year’s theme: Universal access and human resource. Together we will make it. Mr. Manwere said commemorations will be held in different areas. He explains, “Campaigns catering for everyone including farmers have been organized to share information in rural areas of Zimbabwe.”

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2. Tanzania: Keeping chickens revived my life (by Lazarus Laiser for Farm Radio Weekly in Tanzania)

Mr. William Moikan Loibanguti wears the colourful red clothes of the Maasai tribe. He is a pastoralist and lives in Loosikito, near Arusha in Tanzania. Back in 2000, his cattle enterprise was already feeling the effects of climate change. With pasturelands drying up and little land available for farming, Mr. William decided to try paid employment. In 2000, he headed to Nairobi. He left his wife and child in their three-square-metremud house.

He worked in Nairobi for three years. He also spent time in Dar es Salaam. During six years away, his life changed completely. Mr. William became infected with HIV. He thought he was going to die, so he decided to go back home.

After one year back home, he was blessed with a baby boy. His wife Judica William took an HIV test. But she and the baby were HIV-negative.

Two years later, Mrs. William conceived again. This time she gave birth to a baby girl. Again, she and the baby took the HIV test. But they were not infected. Around this time, Mr. William started to feel weak. He discovered that he was suffering from tuberculosis, or TB. He remembers, “It was not easy. I felt guilty and suffered with pain when I got TB. People laughed at me, and my wife was crying a lot.”

The government hospital treated him free of charge. He recovered after six months.
Staff at the hospital advised him to join a group for HIV-positive people. Members of the group receive help from the government and education from various organizations.

In the group, Mr. William learned that he did not need to wait to die. He learned that if he kept himself healthy, he could live for a long time. He says, “I then said … I will die even if I was not affected. I should rise up and do something for my family before I die.”

Mr. William started to work hard. He found a job as a watchman in a shop. After six months he built a chicken house. Three months later he bought 10 chickens, which gave him 10 eggs per day. Mr. William sold the eggs. With the income, he was able to feed his family. But he decided to leave the job because he was losing weight. He was advised that his weight loss was due to lack of sleep and being cold during the night.

With his poultry business going well, Mr. William was soon able to buy a donkey. The donkey carries goods and fetches water for the family. He also bought two goats. These provide milk for the family. Then he started growing amaranth. This crop has a good market and brought him a lot of money. Amaranth also improved his diet as it contains iron and calcium. With the money he made, he bought sofas for his family.

Mr. William and his wife and four children now sleep well in a good house, modern by Maasai standards. The house is made ofwooden poles, and is roofed with iron. Thinking about how his life has changed in the last few years, he says, “I went to the church and said goodbye to my pastor. I knew I was going to die soon. But [since] I tried [keeping] chickens, I am still alive and I will not die soon.”

Mr. William is now a teacher and coordinator for HIV and AIDS awareness programs in Loosikito village.He runs seminars every week and visits people affected by HIV and AIDS.

Mr. William plans to build another chicken house and increase the number of chickens he raises. His wife is pleased with her husband’s project, saying, “He has brought hope to the family and not death.” They are happy that they can pay their children’s school fees without any problem. Smiling, Mrs. William says, “The family is protected and restored.”

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Notes to broadcasters on World AIDS Day:

In 1988,the World Health Organization designated December 1 as World AIDS Day. Since then, this is the day when the world remembers people lost to AIDS, takes stock of progress made in halting the disease, and raises awareness to overcome stigma and increase understanding. The theme this year is Universal Access and Human Rights.

For more information on World AIDS Day and global events, refer to these sites:



For basic background information on HIV and AIDS, go to:




Click here to read the full Notes to Broadcasters.

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Young Environmental Journalist Award Africa: Deadline 31 December

The United Nations Environment Programme has launched a new competition, the Young Environmental Journalist Award. The award will go to a young journalist who has challenged current thinking, provided new insights or increased public understanding of the environment in Africa in 2010. Topics could include local development, pollution or climate change.

Applicants must be between 25 and 35 years old and work for an African news organization. Freelance journalists may also apply. Broadcast, print and online journalists are eligible. The winner will travel to the U.S.A. and visit a number of “green” projects. He or she will also meet with leading environmental figures.

The application deadline is 31 December. The award ceremony will take place during a global conference held in Nairobi from 21 to 25 February 2011.

For more information and to apply online, visit:  http://unep.org/yeja/about.asp.

For more details, you can also contact: yeja.africa@unep.org or Waiganjo Njoroge on +254 20 7625261.

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AMARC 2009 documents available online

Presentations from the April 2009 Pan-African conference organized by the Association Mondiale des Radiodiffuseurs Communautaires (AMARC or World Community Radio Association) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast are now available online. Audio files, pdf and Word documents can be downloaded.

The conference’s theme was: Increasing the Effectiveness of Community Radio in Poverty Reduction, Good Governance, and Climate Change Adaptation.

Participants explored the development of community radio in Africa and strategized on actions to move forward.  Radio practitioners, including representatives from Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, FADECO in Tanzania, and Nanto FM in Benin, shared insights and experiences. The presentations also included discussions on the social impact of radio stations in Ghana, and the significance of radio in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Sierra Leone.

To access the presentations online, visit: http://africa.amarc.org/index.php?p=Pan_African_Conferences&l=EN

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Farm Radio International and partners attend the Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning

Blythe McKay and Bart Sullivan from Farm Radio International attended the sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Kochi, India in November of this year. They gave presentations as part of the Community Development theme. Blythe talked about the recent online scriptwriting course and competition, while Bart presented some of the methods for increasing listener participation that he has been testing in East Africa. Blythe told Farm Radio Weekly that there was a lot of interest in their presentations, and that the Forum was a great opportunity to meet and discuss e-learning with people from all over the world.

James Achanyi Fontem from Cameroon Link, one of FRI’s strategic partners, also attended the forum, and has posted more details and photos on his blog: http://camlinknews.blogspot.com/2010/12/e-learning-course-for-africa.html.

The papers submitted to the forum can be accessed from the forum website at: http://www.pcf6.net/pages/.

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HIV/AIDS: Preventing mother-to-child transmission

This script adds another dimension to this week’s news stories on HIV and AIDS. The vast majority of children who are HIV-positive contract the virus from their mothers. Yet there are simple things new mothers can do to avoid infecting their babies. This script contains three short scenarios. Each deals with one aspect of preventing transmission of the virus. The script is meant to encourage discussion about HIV and AIDS, and open and non-judgemental talk about sexual practices. Breaking down such taboos is hard. But raising awareness about how the virus is transmitted is vital to prevent further infection.

Read the script at http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/69-6script_en.asp

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