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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 #269

Be a part of ending violence against women

Thank you for taking the time to open Farm Radio Weekly. We hope that the stories, resources and scripts contained in issue #269 will give you pause for thought, and encourage you to raise the subject of violence against women and the right of women to be free from all forms of harassment and fear.

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and Farm Radio Weekly is dedicating this issue to the subject of gender-based violence. We bring you three stories of women and girls in Congo-Brazzaville, Zambia and Mozambique who have been bruised, but not broken, by both loved ones and strangers.

A woman from Pointe-Noire, Congo-Brazzaville, was assaulted by the owner of the building in which she worked after she rejected his advances. The woman is trying to fight for justice through the legal system, but has been frustrated by the costs involved. She may not be able to afford her day in court.

In Zambia, Mama Misozi was forced into an early marriage and denied the opportunity to complete her education when her husband proved to be a violent drunkard. But, armed with knowledge of the law, she was able to escape his iron rule and make a new life for herself and her children.

Women who suffer from illnesses or disabilities can be at greater risk from gender-based violence. In Mozambique, steps are being taken to address this problem, but it is often up to friends and relatives to help a woman realize that she is suffering criminal abuse. Isabel, who suffers from epilepsy, managed to get out of an abusive marriage once she realized that she didn’t have to suffer further violence.

As usual, FRW brings you resources and an event: in this issue they are related to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Please read through the Notes to broadcasters, which contain more stories and resources on this subject.

“Education is the vaccine for violence.”

Keep broadcasting!

– The Farm Radio Weekly team

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Congo-Brazzaville: Will an abused woman’s poverty deny her justice? (by John Ndinga-Ngoma, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Until December 17, 2010, Flore Barros Tchicaya made her living by working in a hair salon. On that day, the 30-year-old hairdresser and seamstress from Pointe-Noire was attacked by the owner of the building she worked in.

Hassan Hodjeij attacked Ms. Tchicaya with an electric stun gun. The single mother remembers the experience vividly. She says, “I was paralyzed by the man, because he was disgruntled that I had rejected his declarations of love.”

Ms. Tchicaya took her case to the High Court of Pointe-Noire, but it was dismissed for lack of evidence. Dissatisfied with the decision, she appealed. But her fight for justice was frustrated by a lack of finances. It would have cost her 70,000 Central African francs (CFA), about $140 US, to launch her court appeal. She remembers, “I was no longer working, I had no more money. I had no option but to drop the charges.”

Well-wishers gave Ms. Tchicaya the funds and the appeal process began. On May 16, 2011, the prosecutors got the court to give Mr. Hodjeij a 15-year prison sentence and a fine of 350 million CFA for “assault and battery causing physical disabilities.” But three days later, Mr. Hodjeij appealed that decision et his request for an appeal is accepted. Supreme Court canceled the verdict, arguing that the case was not properly judged. The case has been turned over to the appeals court in Dolisie.

Dolisie is 170 kilometres inland from Pointe-Noire, and Ms. Tchicaya simply couldn’t afford the travel costs. She says: “In order to get to Dolisie, I would have to spend 7,000 francs ($14 US) on each journey. You can imagine how much I would spend if I had to go there several times … I’d have to spend a fortune on a hotel and food if I stayed in a town where I have no family.”

Ms. Tchicaya worried that she would not be able to attend the hearings. She says: “I had become independent. I could afford to live through my two trades, hairdressing and sewing. But now I am no longer able to work because of [the injuries I received] through saying ‘no’ to a man.” On top of this, Ms. Tchicaya and her child had recently been thrown out of their apartment by her landlord.

Faced with these difficulties, Ms. Tchicaya is worried she will not be able to attend the hearings. The case has been tied up in legal proceedings for several years now. Ms. Tchicaya says she’s counting on civil society organizations to come to her rescue.

Sylvie Viviane Messo is a journalist at a private television station, and also runs an NGO called Association de la Jeune Fille et Femme Démunies et Désœuvrées du Congo. The organization helps abandoned women and young homeless girls rediscover their dignity and independence.

In Congo-Brazzaville, women who are victims of violence frequently abandon legal proceedings because of the expenses required to get cases to court. Ms. Messo explains: “For example, we have two cases of women who were beaten by their husbands. We tried to get these cases into the judicial system but they were discouraged because they felt that they were unable to afford the fees of lawyers and bailiffs.” Ms. Messo says the women asked the organization to withdraw the complaints, and so they did.

Ms. Tchicaya wants the authorities to take the socio-economic status of her and other litigants into account. She ​​is urging lawmakers to review the laws to ensure that justice is available for those with limited means.

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Zambia: Battered woman farms her way to independence (by Filius Jere, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Like many Zambian women, Mama Misozi was doomed by tradition to be subservient to her future husband. She was only fifteen when she was confined by elderly village women to undergo cinamwali, or little maidenhood, a traditional four-week coming-of-age ceremony.

Her school exam results came soon after her initiation, and she was excited to learn that she had done very well. But then a young man from Kangale village crossed the Lutembwe River to propose marriage.

Mama Misozi did not really want to marry him. She wanted to finish her education and become a teacher. But her father wanted the dowry oxen, and she could not oppose her father’s wishes. She was married against her will. She worked like a slave in the family field every day and produced six children in eight years.

Her husband was a drunkard who provided nothing for his family. He spent most of his time hunting, but his prey was local beer and other women. Mama Misozi was expected to serve and obey her husband, who beat her frequently. Within a few years she was bruised, both physically and mentally.

Four of her six children were girls. Her husband would often dream of the oxen which their dowries would bring. But Mama Misozi was sad; she did not want her children to become “slaves” like her. She quarrelled constantly with her husband because he refused to put the girls in school.

Mama Misozi felt the situation was hopeless. She tried to do extra work in other people’s fields to raise money for school fees. Her husband beat her because she did not spend enough time in his field. Then Mama Misozi took a drastic step.

She says, “Divorce was taboo in my tribe. But whenever I looked at my four girls, I could only see them getting caught in the same vicious circle that had enslaved me. I just had to leave my husband.”

Traditionally, this was almost impossible. But someone advised her to consult the Young Women’s Christian Association. Through that organization, she discovered that her husband’s abuse was criminal and he could be arrested. Because of the children, Mama Misozi did not want her husband to be arrested. But learning about this gave her the leverage to start a new life on her own.

She had some good fortune. Her now-deceased parents had a disused, weed-strewn vegetable garden on the banks of the river. When she left her husband’s home, Mama Misozi began to grow vegetables there. She says: “I borrowed hoes and axes to clear the land and [got] seedlings for my first crops. My children understood the situation and helped me, and slowly we managed to improve our livelihood.”

During the rainy season, Mama Misozi also grows maize and groundnuts in her parents’ field. She obtained manure from herders to apply to her maize. As a result, she had a very good harvest and filled her granary. The following year, she was able to afford school fees from selling her vegetables. Her children are now back in school. Within a few years, Mama Misozi was able to build a good brick house for her family.

Mama Misozi says, “When my husband saw how I was managing, he came begging for reconciliation.” For the sake of their children, she presented him with three conditions. He had to move from his village to hers. He had to stop drinking because it made him violent and lazy. And thirdly, he could not interfere with the children’s education.

Mama Misozi says, “My eldest daughter, Enala, is in Grade 9 and wants to become a teacher!”

Her husband has found it difficult to let go of beer. However, Mama Misozi says, “If he wants any money for beer, he must work in the garden first – and that is good for me!”

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Mozambique: Uphill struggle to eliminate violence against women (ReliefWeb)

Isabel was happy when she met a man who promised to treat her well. She suffers from epilepsy, a condition of the nervous system which causes a person to have violent convulsions. But she was not expecting the violence which her husband inflicted on her after they were married.

Isabel is 41-years-old and has four children from the marriage. She says: “After we married and had children, he changed and became very violent with me. Many times when I suffered epileptic seizures he would bite me very brutally to the point of causing injuries.”

She endured this treatment for many years because she did not want to abandon her children. Despite the abuse, Isabel says she loved her husband. Also, she was worried about how she would survive, since the family depended on him financially.

For years, the beatings continued. Her husband always apologized a few days after abusing her and she always forgave him. This was the pattern of their marriage.

She remembers: “One of the times, he tied my hands and legs and beat [me] so much that I thought he was going to kill me. That was the day I decided to leave him and seek help from my friends.”

The Mozambique Interior Ministry reports more than 50 per cent of Mozambican women have suffered some form of physical, sexual or psychological violence. Seven in ten girls in the country know of cases of sexual harassment and abuse in their school.

This situation is not unique to Mozambique. Every country in the Southern Africa Development Community views violence against women with great concern and has agreed to work together to end it. The government of Mozambique is fighting gender violence by adopting international principles and standards to protect women’s rights. But legislation to ensure that men convicted of these crimes are punished is lacking.

Dr. Roberto De Bernardi is the Deputy Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Mozambique. He notes that Mozambican children are especially vulnerable to violence, with more than one in every two girls married by the age of 18.

He says: “At school, some teachers give passing grades in exchange for sexual favours, and because schools have done little to prevent this, girls don’t know where to go and they often drop out. There is a culture of fear and silence.”

Valeria de Campos Mello is a Mozambican Representative at UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. She says, “Reducing gender-based violence against women by 50% by 2015 is ambitious … [but] it is achievable if all of us work in collaboration and deep commitment towards this noble vision of a society that is free from gender-based violence.”

Isabel escaped from her violent husband and now works for a women’s association which helps victims of violence. She hopes that by publicizing gender-based violence in Mozambique, other abused women will be encouraged to come forward and get help. She would like her daughters to grow up in a country where violence toward women is a thing of the past.

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Notes to broadcasters: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

“All forms of violence against women must stop – from the use of rape as a weapon of war to the use of violence by a husband to terrorize his wife within her own home.” UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro

Since 1981, women’s activists have marked November 25 as a day against violence. This date marks the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic. The Day was officially recognized by the UN in 1999.

For more information and resources on the Day, please visit the UN website: http://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/

Say NO: UNiTE to end violence against women invites you to join the UNiTE campaign and “Orange the World” during 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence from November 25 to December 10. For more information, contact Anna Alaszewski at the UNiTE campaign global secretariat (anna.alaszewski@unwomen.org) or visit their website at: http://saynotoviolence.org/join-say-no/orange-world-16-days

Farm Radio Weekly published Notes to broadcasters on breast ironing and female genital mutilation in issue #268. You can access it through this link: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/11/18/notes-to-broadcasters-breast-ironing-and-female-genital-mutilation/. Other related FRW Notes include Notes to broadcasters on domestic abuse in Africa (FRW #208, July 2012 http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/07/16/notes-to-broadcasters-on-domestic-abuse-in-africa/), and Notes to broadcasters on women farmers affected by sexual violence (FRW #57, March 2009 http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/03/02/notes-to-broadcasters-on-women-farmers-affected-by-sexual-violence/).

Sadly, there are far too many articles on the internet on gender-based violence for us to bring them all to you. Here is a sample:

The story on which one of this week’s stories was based, The uphill task to eliminate violence against women in Mozambique and Southern Africa, can be read in full here: http://reliefweb.int/report/mozambique/uphill-task-eliminate-violence-against-women-mozambique-and-southern-africa#sthash.4ryxK7sb.dpuf

More information is available on Sylvie Messo, mentioned in the story from Congo-Brazzaville. Read the blog through this address: http://syfia.over-blog.com/article-pointe-noire-une-journaliste-maman-des-filles-meres-53307594.html

The stories which make up this week’s News in brief can be found through the following links: Fighting gender-based violence in Sierra Leone (http://www.irinnews.org/report/99070/fighting-gender-based-violence-in-sierra-leone); A look behind the statistics of South Africa’s rape epidemic (http://www.irinnews.org/report/99039/a-look-behind-the-statistics-of-south-africa-s-rape-epidemic); Kenyan rape victims seek compensation (http://iwpr.net/report-news/kenyan-rape-victims-seek-compensation) and; Better protection for victims of gender based violence (http://allafrica.com/stories/201311041170.html). Related to the article from Tanzania is Safe shelters to help gender violence victims, which can be read here: http://allafrica.com/stories/201310160667.html

The elimination of violence against women: “Time has run out for complacency or excuses” is a recent article from Think Africa Press. There are links to several more stories at the bottom of the web page: http://thinkafricapress.com/gender/international-day-elimination-violence-against-women-time-has-run-out-complacency-or-excuses

Many women are victims of violence and rape during wars and civil insurrection, and after natural disasters. Boko Haram, taking to hills, seize slave “brides” tells the story of one woman’s experience. You can read it here: http://www.trust.org/item/20131117092554-68m4x/. Getting protection of women right in emergencies discusses how best to ensure that women and girls are better cared for after conflict and natural disasters. It is available through this link: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99118/getting-protection-of-women-right-in-emergencies

A recent, high-profile case of a woman being raped and the authorities failing in their duty to bring the culprits to justice focuses on “Liz,” a 16-year-old Kenyan girl. She was violently assaulted and left for dead, but her attackers were “punished” by being forced to cut the grass around the local police station. There are several internet stories on this. These include: Brave Busia girl battles as her rapists go scot free (http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/DN2/When-rapists-go-scot-free/-/957860/2022572/-/skd9s8z/-/index.html); Police wrap up probe into girl’s gang rape (http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Police-wrap-up-probe-into-girls-gang-rape/-/1056/2035702/-/format/xhtml/-/4rdyo/-/index.html) and; Miscarriage of justice in brutal gang rape shines spotlight on Kenyan police (http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2013/10/18/feature-02). There is also an opinion piece from the Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper on a different case, After Kenya’s landmark rape decision, all eyes on the police, which is available here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/after-kenyas-landmark-rape-decision-all-eyes-fall-on-the-police/article13545136/

In spite of growing international awareness of the problem and the declared willingness of States to fight gender-based violence, women and girls continue to suffer disproportionately from violence, both in peacetime and during armed conflict, at the hands of family members, intimate partners, community members and State agents. The violence is often of a sexual nature. Instead of taking responsibility, States frequently ignore or deny violence against women, or justify the abuse with a reference to “culture.” Violence against women, from the World Organisation Against Torture, contains 383 articles on torture and other human rights violations. You can access them through this address: http://www.omct.org/violence-against-women/

There are more resources available on the internet. UNiTE, the organizers of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence campaign (featured in this week’s Resource section), has produced this resource bank: http://endviolence.un.org/resources.shtml. There is also a Virtual knowledge centre to end violence against women and girls, published by UN Women, which you can access here: http://www.endvawnow.org/. The resource is available in English, French and Spanish.

Communication and training materials were developed by the C-Change project to help prevent and mitigate school-related, gender-based violence. You can find them here: http://www.c-hubonline.org/resources/preventing-school-related-gender-based-violence-katanga-province-drc. All materials may be downloaded free.

Get Moving! is a series of training materials designed for organizations working on violence against women, or women’s rights work in general. It aims to provide opportunities for intensive self-reflection and self-discovery in order to help staff feel more passionate about and committed to their work. You can download the material needed to run a course here: http://raisingvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/downloads/Innovation/Creating_Methodologies/Get_Moving/FG.pdf (facilitators’ handbook) and http://raisingvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/downloads/Innovation/Creating_Methodologies/Get_Moving/PG.pdf (participants’ workbook)

Do you need to involve the men in your area? The Men to Men Strategy Toolkit was published by African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET). It shares information, tools, activities, and skill-building ideas and methods to help organizations and individuals better understand the dynamics of working with men to address gender-based violence. Get more information and download the toolkit (in English only) through this link: http://www.comminit.com/africa/content/men-men-strategy-toolkit-working-men-combat-gender-based-violence

Finally, the COMMUNICATIONS X-CHANGE is an online library of materials contributed by organizations and individuals around the world who are working to end violence against women and children. A wide assortment of international content includes flyers, posters, videos, brochures, educational materials and more, all of which you can view and download free of charge. Visit the library here: http://xchange.futureswithoutviolence.org/library/

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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 Africa: A look behind the statistics of the rape epidemic

In South Africa, Joan Adams is creating a safe house for child victims of rape and sexual violence. The woman from Klipspruit West, Soweto, has opened her doors to children and receives between 10 and 20 every week.

Ms. Adams was herself a victim of sexual abuse when she was young, so she understands what these children have been through. She wants to help them heal their physical and psychological wounds.

An NGO, Shukumisa, did a study in 2010 for Gauteng, the province where Johannesburg and Soweto are located. The statistics were stark. The report states that 25 per cent of women questioned in the study had been raped in their lifetime.

According to official police statistics, 127 people per 100,000 in the South African population were sexually assaulted last year.Shukumisa fears that most women aren’t reporting sexual violence to the police, so the numbers may be higher.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99039/a-look-behind-the-statistics-of-south-africa-s-rape-epidemic

2- Sierra Leone: Fighting gender-based violence

In Sierra Leone, the former Deputy Education Minister’s trial for rape has brought attention to the increasing amount of domestic and gender-based violence. Already this year, cases brought before the courts have almost reached the total figure for 2012.

According to police, of the almost 7,000 allegations of rape reported so far this year, only 6 per cent have resulted in convictions. While it is good news that more women are reporting these assaults to police, many in Sierra Leone believe there are many unreported cases of gender-based violence.

The former minister was charged with rape by a 24-year-old university student. While the woman was testifying, members of the public cursed at her and booed her mother. Naming the woman in the press is illegal, but many prominent newspapers did so. Situations like this can discourage women from coming forward to police.

A law on sexual offences was enacted in 2012, and earlier this year domestic violence legislation was passed. But the police body organized to investigate this type of crime is said to be understaffed and poorly funded.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/99070/fighting-gender-based-violence-in-sierra-leone

3- Kenya: Rape victims seek justice

In Kenya, a group of rape victims recently brought a civil case against some of the country’s highest-ranking officials.

Eight women have come forward to pursue justice at the High Court in Nairobi because of the failure of the police to investigate rape and sexual violence during post-election violence in 2007-08. The women are suing a number of government officials, including Kenya’s Attorney General and the police Inspector, for not investigating rapists. Several police officers are also among the accused.

The women are seeking financial compensation and other support such as counselling, and treatment for trauma, HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases. Earlier this year, Kenya’s director of public prosecutions said he is continuing to pursue justice for victims of gender-based violence.

To read the full article, go to: http://iwpr.net/report-news/kenyan-rape-victims-seek-compensation

4- Tanzania: Better protection for victims of gender-based violence

For a long time, victims of gender-based violence in Tanzania have suffered in silence. But, since gender-based violence centres have been introduced in Dar es Salaam and on the island of Zanzibar, things have been improving.

Now, women and child victims can report sexual crimes and receive medical and legal support at what’s being referred to as “a one-stop centre.” The Tanzania Media Women’s Association, or TAMWA, is calling on the government to follow the Southern Africa Development Community’s lead by adopting its protocol on gender and violence in order to strengthen the judicial process in Tanzania.

Victims of gender-based violence fear reprisals from the men they report to police, and often face health problems and, in some cases, disabilities. In an effort to help victims, TAMWA has begun a gender equality and women’s empowerment program to coincide with the opening of the new centres.

To read the full article, go to: http://allafrica.com/stories/201311041170.html?page=2

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Take back The Tech 2013: Taking control of technology to end violence against women

From November 25 to December 10, 2013, Take Back The Tech! invites people to take one action every day to end violence against women. Take Back The Tech! is a global campaign that connects the issue of violence against women to information and communications technologies. Each daily action will explore an issue of violence against women and its connection with communication rights. You can find a complete list of these daily actions here: https://www.takebackthetech.net/daily_actions/browse/2013

In an age of social media and mass surveillance, privacy is increasingly seen as an exception rather than a right. But privacy is a fundamental human right, as explicitly stated under Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Take Back The Tech maintains that: “upholding the right to privacy means defending the right to decide what we want to share about our personal lives, our bodies and our spaces with whom, when and on what terms. This is especially important when increasing access to the internet and online spaces have complicated our ideas of what is public and what is private. For example, a photograph taken between two people in private can become an act of violence when it is distributed into other spaces without consent.”

A global Twitter conversation on privacy, safety and feminism using #OrangeDay will begin on November 25 to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Here are several ways you can participate:

• Participate in one or more of the 16 daily actions, which you can find through this link: https://www.takebackthetech.net/daily_actions/browse/2013

• Organize a campaign where you live: highlight a critical violence against women issue and think about how the issue connects with ICTs (for ideas on campaigns, go to: https://www.takebackthetech.net/organise/how-organise-take-back-tech-campaign)

• Submit tools and resources you find useful to Take Back The Tech! via email or social media.

• Map your story of tech-related violence here: https://www.takebackthetech.net/mapit/ (Tech-related violence refers to harmful actions against women (e.g., sexual violence, harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence) that occur via telephones, computers and the internet.)

To share your ideas, you can contact Take Back The Tech! via email: ideas@takebackthetech.net, and via Twitter with @takebackthetech and #takebackthetech

To learn more, visit: https://www.takebackthetech.net/node/5573

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Audio guide: ‘Gender-based violence sensitive media coverage’ by Search for Common Ground

The media generally do not do a good job of covering violence against women. Women are often presented as sex objects, and the media fail to link gender-based violence to underlying issues of human rights, gender equality, and national development. This failure can result in sensationalist reporting which does not lead to a deeper understanding of the issues involved.

Issues such as human trafficking, and the spread of pornography and violence against women through new technologies are under-reported in African media, and in media all over the world. Narrow, sensationalist reporting on sexual and gender-based violence can contribute to further stigmatization of, or retaliation against, victims of violence.

This audio guide was designed to help journalists and media workers produce better programming on gender-based violence, and cover stories about survivors of violence in an appropriate and sensitive manner, without compromising the rights of their subjects.

The guide is divided into two parts. The first discusses the concepts of gender and gender-based violence and considers how violence against women often has a cultural context. The second part aims to assist journalists to report on survivors and gender-based violence.

To listen to the guide in English or French, visit:  http://www.sfcg.org/programmes/rfpa/audioguides.html

You can also download the guide and listen to it offline by right clicking and saving the file as an MP3.

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Indigenous crops and food security: Join the conversation at the Barza café!

A few weeks ago, something new was added to the Barza Café! We introduced “hot topics.” The first hot topic was women farmers and food security.

Now you can join the discussion on a new hot topic: indigenous crops and food security. The conversation is happening here: http://barza.fm/groups/barza-cafe/forum/topic/hot-topic-discussion-2-indigenous-crops-and-food-security-2/

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately 75 per cent of the Earth’s plant genetic resources are now extinct. Another one-third of plant biodiversity is expected to disappear by 2050. Indigenous crops can play a role in preserving biodiversity and feeding people.

Based on an article published by The Food Tank, which looked at 15 indigenous food crops from around the world, we’re asking: what role do indigenous plants play in the diets and growing practices of your listening audiences?

Join the discussion. Learn, share and brainstorm with other Barza members about what questions you can ask farmers about indigenous crops, and what kinds of programs you can generate based on talking to farmers.

You haven’t signed up to Barza yet? What are you waiting for? Sign up now at: www.barza.fm/welcome.

Happy Barza’ing!

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