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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 #300

Call for submissions: 2014 United Nations Correspondents Association Awards

The United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) Awards honour the best journalistic coverage of the U.N. and its agencies and field operations. The UNCA is now accepting written and electronic submissions for the awards. Journalists anywhere in the world are eligible to enter.

The contest has four categories: print and online, broadcast, climate change and humanitarian/development.

The total prize amount is over $50,000 U.S., which will be distributed among the winners.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will present the prizes in December at the awards ceremony in New York, U.S.A.

Entries can be submitted in any of the official U.N. languages (English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Russian). Entries in other languages should be accompanied by a translation in English or French.

The contest deadline is September 15, 2014.

For more information, go to: http://unca.com/2014-unca-awards-call-for-submissions/

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Young people make the future bright

Welcome to the 300th edition of Farm Radio Weekly! To mark this special issue, two of this week’s stories focus on the future: Africa’s young people.

Generations of Tanzanian farmers have practised slash and burn agriculture. This has led to many plots becoming barren and infertile over time. But a new school-based initiative is encouraging young people to conserve soil fertility and increase crop yields.

An ongoing project in South African schools is teaching young, aspiring journalists how to record, edit and report on issues that concern them. One student, Sibusiso Mazibuko, hopes that the produce from his family’s plot will raise enough cash to fund a career in filmmaking.

Farmers’ co-operatives in West Africa, unable to get support from banks, are organizing to provide services to their communities. Farm Radio Weekly’s new Francophone Bureau Chief reports on two success stories.

August 12 marks International Youth Day. Follow the hyperlink to find out how to join local and international celebrations!

Our Event section on the sidebar highlights an international competition for young journalists, and the Resource section features a guidebook aimed at improving the output of young radio presenters and producers, as well as anyone else who works with youth.

The foundation of every culture is the education of its youth: good habits formed early make all the difference.

Keep broadcasting!

–          The Farm Radio Weekly team

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Tanzania: Planting the seed of conservation in schools (by Felicity Feinman, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Kuruthumu Amlima dreams of becoming a farmer like her parents. But the 14-year-old does not plan to farm exactly like them.

Ms. Amlima lives in the village of Liwale, about 200 kilometres west of Mtwara, a city just north of the Tanzanian border with Mozambique. Farmers in this area traditionally practice slash-and-burn agriculture. Although this practice temporarily boosts nutrients in the soil, over time it causes soil erosion and nutrient deficiencies. Farmers are eventually forced to find new farmland.

Ms. Amlima is learning the principles of conservation agriculture through a program at her primary school. The program emphasizes crop rotation, minimum tillage and continuous soil cover. These practices improve nutrient levels in the soil and prevent soil erosion, allowing farmers to use the same plot year after year. Ms. Amlima adds, “You get a bigger harvest from smaller land with conservation agriculture.”

Lindi and Mtwara Agribusiness Support, or LIMAS, is a Finnish development project which funds the trainings in 56 schools in the Liwale district. The project has been a success at Nalulelo Primary School, where Ms. Amlima studies. This year, the school grew and sold 1,200 kilograms of maize for a profit of 373,000 Tanzanian shillings (about $225 US).

Juma Chijinga is an agronomist at LIMAS. He says that profitability is a key aspect of conservation agriculture. He explains the farmer’s needs: “At the end of the day, they want increased production. They need increased income.”

But finding a balance between production and conservation can be challenging. While crop rotation is a key aspect of conservation agriculture, the Nalulelo School farm grew only maize this year. This is not as beneficial to long-term soil health as rotating crops.

But in the short term, it provided the school with a more immediate need – food. Mr. Chijinga says: “Their priority is food … they decided that this year they would plant maize, so that they [could provide] for the [students] who are expecting to write examinations this season.”

Some of the children’s parents are also interested in conservation principles. But Mr. Chijinga thinks real change will take time. He says: “These people are used to traditional agriculture … You can’t expect them to change overnight, but they can learn … [by] … seeing that there is some benefit.”

Ms. Amlima’s teacher, Rashidi Hamisi, thinks farmers in Liwale could benefit from adopting conservation agriculture, as slash-and-burn farming is often time-consuming. He says, “When they use conservation farm[ing], they have more time for other things and they get good production and crops.”

Older farmers might take more convincing. But Ms. Amlima is already sold on conservation agriculture. She plans to use it when she, someday, starts her own farm. Ms. Amlima says, “I like conservation because it’s good for the future.”

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South Africa: Young reporters learn the ropes at school (by Adam Bemma, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Since 2010, South Africans have celebrated Nelson Mandela International Day to mark Mandela’s birthday. Many people in the country, both young and old, honour his legacy on July 18 by volunteering and performing community service.

Sibusiso Mazibuko spent Mandela Day planting crops in the garden of a childcare centre in Tembisa township, north of Kempton Park, an eastern suburb of Johannesburg. The 17-year-old taught young children how good agricultural practices can reduce the effects of climate change and fight food insecurity, two subjects about which he is passionate.

He says: “For the last four years, my mom has been growing spinach, onions and tomatoes in her garden at home. She taught me that it’s important to plant vegetables for our family.”

When he’s not teaching young children how to grow food, Mr. Mazibuko is an aspiring documentary filmmaker. He is a member of the Youth Press Team at Tembisa Secondary School. Mr. Mazibuko can often be seen carrying one of the iPads, microphones or tripods provided to the club through iSchoolAfrica, a nation-wide educational initiative.

iSchoolAfrica launched the Youth Press Team project four years ago, as South Africa prepared to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. With the international spotlight on the country, the initiative gave youth a platform to share their stories with the world.

iSchoolAfrica currently works in 20 under-resourced schools across South Africa, providing appropriate technologies to improve classroom learning.

Michelle Lissoos is the project director at iSchoolAfrica. She says: “They started off filming using a handheld camera and then edited their work [afterwards]. Now, they can film and edit [on] one device. We have a facilitator who trains the educators at the school.”

Mr. Mazibuko says: “Working with the Youth Press Team at my school makes me feel I can produce and develop my own documentary films. I’m going to apply [to] the London Film School in the U.K. if I can find a scholarship or bursary.”

John Aphane is one of Mr. Mazibuko’s teachers at Tembisa Secondary School. The 31-year-old teaches more than 200 students every year. He has seen Mr. Mazibuko excel over the last three years, becoming a senior member of the Youth Press Team.

Mr. Aphane says: “The Youth Press Team gives a voice to the community. [Mr. Mazibuko] found a passion for media after joining the team. He’s written some stories and is currently working on a movie with other students.”

The teacher adds, “Mandela Day was an important occasion to understand the role Mr. Mandela played in the history of this country and to learn to do something for others.”

The late Nelson Mandela believed strongly in the power of education. He once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

For his part, Mr. Mazibuko says he learned that selling vegetables at the market can help parents pay their children’s school fees. He would like to grow enough food so his mother can raise the money to send him to university. He sees film as a way to make real change in the world.

He says: “My mother taught me that it’s important to plant and water vegetables, as agriculture can help people by feeding families. I have learnt for myself that telling stories can educate people.”

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West Africa: Farmer groups respond to lack of funding (by Inoussa Maïga, for Farm Radio Weekly)

Soumaïla Sanou and the other cereal farmer members of the Comité interprofessionnel des céréaliers du Burkina, or CICB, are savouring their success. While many farmer groups find it difficult or impossible to fund their agricultural activities, Mr. Sanou and members of his organization have successfully raised 52 million West African francs [$107,000 U.S.] and placed it in a member’s fund.

During a recent international conference on financing for agriculture held in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Sanou, the president of CICB, explained how the organization achieved its success. The group raised the funds by selling bulk grain which members had contributed from their own harvests. CICB will use the money to fund bulk purchases of fertilizer for member farmers.

Mr. Sanou explains,“The fertilizer that each producer receives is proportional to the quantity of grain he sold to the organization.” CICB returns any leftover cash to its member’s accounts after purchasing the fertilizer and sends each farmer a receipt detailing the amount they are owed.

But the group’s success came only after members were forced into taking the initiative for themselves. CICB was established because local banks refused to grant loans to individual farmers. The banks argued that the farmers could not provide sufficient evidence of their ability to repay.

Bassiaka Dao is a director of a West African network of small-scale and commercial farmers’ organizations known as ROPPA. Mr. Dao says that governments have established agricultural banks, while farmers have formed credit unions. He believes, however, that the agricultural banks were often poorly structured. He adds, “Their capacity for lending remains weak, and many have failed after turning their focus away from financing agriculture.”

Left to their own devices, the farmers were forced to come up with their own solutions. Farmers’ organizations across West Africa have developed mechanisms to improve members’ access to basic agricultural services such as fertilizers, equipment and small loans. They have even developed markets to encourage commodity trade.

Another success story comes from Niger. The Fédération des Unions des Coopératives de Producteurs de Riz, or FUCOPRI, organizes bulk sales of paddy rice in the country. Ayouba Hassane is the group’s technical director. He says that the federation was formed “to deal with the thorny issue of marketing.”

Mr. Hassane adds, “The leaders of the federation were able to convince the Nigerien government to buy the local paddy rice boost food security.” He says this has solved the crucial problem of getting funds to co-operatives to help them function.

These are the kinds of initiatives that enable organizations to meet the most pressing needs of women and men farmers, particularly the most deprived.

Things are gradually starting to change, and the financial situation of farmers is improving. Mr. Sanou says, “Yesterday we were running after the banks; today, the banks are coming to us with credit.”

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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 ma#mce_temp_url#

1-Democratic Republic of Congo: Mobile phone app could help prosecute sexual violence suspects

The international NGO, Physicians for Human Rights, or PHR, is testing a smartphone application called MediCapt in the DRC.

The organization is using the app to document victims of rape and sexual assault in the DRC. The app stores photographic images of victims’ injuries along with medical examination forms in an online database. Law enforcement officials can use MediCapt as forensic evidence.

Though the application is still being developed, PHR has trained physicians how to use the new technology, and hopes that the system will be available in areas of conflict around the world in the near future.

To read the full article, go to: http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/07/11/3459162/app-rape-war-zones/

2-Liberia: Rape in post-war Liberia

During Liberia’s 14-year civil war, sexual violence affected as many as 77 per cent of the country’s women and girls.

According to a new report from UK-based Overseas Development Institute entitled The Fallout of Rape as a Weapon of War, the incidence of sexual violence and rape in post-war Liberia is still “extremely high.” Data from 2013 show that up to a quarter of women and girls report being raped by a stranger, and nearly three in four married women have been sexually assaulted by their husbands.

Under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia’s government has enacted new anti-rape laws and established new courts, but prosecution rates remain low.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.irinnews.org/report/100364/tackling-liberia-s-high-rape-rate

3-Zambia: Sexual and reproductive health education on the radio

A new radio program, made by youth and for youth in Zambia, is raising awareness of sexual and reproductive health across the country.

The presenters and producers, aged between 16 and 22, want to de-stigmatize the subject of sexual and reproductive health and condom use.

Tikambe natulande, or “Let’s talk,” was developed by BBC Media Action and Restless Development, a Zambian youth-led organization.

Three radio stations − Radio Mkushi in Central Province, Radio Kasama in Northern Province, and the state broadcaster, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation − each  air their own version of the program.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcmediaaction/posts/zambia_blog_boyd_chibale_tikambe

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Call for applications: Thomson Foundation Young Journalist from the Developing World

Journalists are invited to enter a competition that recognizes young journalists working in the developing world.

Journalists must be aged 30 or under on November 25, 2014, working in countries defined as “developing,” and submit a portfolio of work.

The portfolio must contain three pieces of work which were published or broadcast on or after August 29, 2013. The work can be in any format – print, audio, video, multimedia or a combination of all four.

Entries can be submitted in any language but should be accompanied by a verbatim English language translation.

Entrants must submit written statements of up to 200 words per story. The statements should summarize the story’s content and any impact it had on public debate in the country of publication.

Potential award winners and leading figures from the world of journalism will be invited to attend the gala award night in London, U.K. on November 25, 2014.

The deadline for entries is 23:59 Greenwich Mean Time on August 29, 2014.

For the purpose of this competition, the “developing world” is defined as those countries with a per capita GDP of $20,000 U.S. or under, according to the 2013 World Bank Index.

For more information and to access the entry form, go to: http://www.thomsonfoundation.org/fpa-young-journalist-award

The completed form should be emailed along with other required documents to the following address: awardfpa@thomsonfoundation.org

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Youth radio for peacebuilding: a guide

Youth radio for peacebuilding: a guide contains tools and examples to help radio professionals and young people produce youth programs for peacebuilding. The guide was produced by the Radio for Peacebuilding Africa project, a program of Search for Common Ground. It is one in a series developed for radio producers and others involved in making positive radio in Africa − radio which makes a difference.

The guide includes how-to tips and advice on analyzing conflict; tools and examples of how radio professionals can create youth radio initiatives; and guidance for adults working with young people on radio programs for peacebuilding.

The guidebook was written for radio broadcasters (adult and youth) who want to make good, entertaining youth radio programs which also build peace. The tools described in the guide are designed to be used by those already working in radio, but could also be useful to young leaders who wish to design and implement their own radio initiatives. The guide is written with Africa in mind, and most of the examples are drawn from African countries.

This is an updated version of the guide, which was originally produced in 2006.

You can download this free guide as a PDF file from this address: http://www.sfcg.org/programmes/rfpa/pdf/manual_03_EN_color.pdf

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Meet the Bureau Chiefs!

We are pleased to welcome Inoussa Maïga as our new Francophone Bureau Chief. Mr. Maïga describes himself as a “journalist-consultant-blogger.” You can read one of his stories in this issue of Farm Radio Weekly.

Mr. Maïga holds a Master’s degree in International Management Media from the Lille School of Journalism in France. He is also the President of the Burkinabe Association of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators.

Mr. Maïga reports on agriculture and rural development, and acts as a consultant in the fields of media and participatory development communication.

He is a Burkina Faso correspondent for journals such as Défis Sud (Belgium) and Spore (Netherlands), and is also involved in documentary filmmaking and training broadcasters.

His involvement in rural development leads to coverage of issues such as food security, security of land tenure in rural areas, responsible and sustainable fisheries, development of knowledge and traditional know-how, and using ICTs for agricultural development.

Mr. Maïga is a keen blogger on social networks, and has run a personal blog on agriculture since February 2013 (www.googolfarmer.info). In July, 2014, his blog received the “Best Blog on family farming” award in the YoBloCo competition. The prize was awarded by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in Nairobi, Kenya.

In Malawi, Mark Ndipita continues to run the Anglophone Bureau. Mr. Ndipita has more than seven years of experience in communication and development, with a focus on agricultural communication. One of his stories will be featured in FRW #301.

Mr. Ndipita holds a Master’s degree in Communication for Innovation and Development from the University of Reading, U.K. He is also a graduate of the University of Malawi, the Polytechnic, where he gained a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He holds a Certificate in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management from the Natural Resources College.

Since 2010, Mark has been the Farm Radio Weekly Bureau Chief for Anglophone Africa. He doubles as a Communications Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Malawi.

As FRW Bureau Chief, Mr. Ndipita identifies and manages writers who contribute articles to FRW. Currently, he manages writers from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia and Botswana. He assists writers in identifying and writing stories.

He is also responsible for ensuring the participation of southern African freelancers on Barza, FRI’s social media site for broadcasters to learn and share new ideas. Mark also promotes FRW and enlists FRW subscribers from the farm radio sector in southern Africa.

Mr. Ndipita writes stories for FRW from Malawi and other countries in southern Africa. Since 2010, Mark has facilitated the publication of over 100 farmer-focussed stories in FRW from writers in southern Africa.

If you are interested in working with either of our bureau chiefs, and ultimately have your work published in Farm Radio Weekly, contact them at the following email addresses:

For French writers: Inoussa Maïga bureauarh@gmail.com

For English writers: Mark Ndipita bureau.chief@farmradiotz.org

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The promise of conservation agriculture

This week’s story from Tanzania talks about conservation agriculture. In 2005, Farm Radio International distributed several scripts on conservation agriculture, including this week’s script of the week.

Adopting conservation agriculture also means adopting a major shift in mindset. Farmers are unfamiliar with the idea of not tilling the soil. Radio can play a role in addressing this change of mindset by broadcasting information about conservation agriculture. As a broadcaster, you can air programs about the different practices involved in conservation agriculture, and give voice to farmers who practice it and want to share their experiences with listeners.

Introduce the main ideas of conservation agriculture slowly, providing more details and information with each successive program. Make it clear to listeners that farmers who adopt conservation agriculture will face challenges, as they would with any new practice, but that they already have the tools to solve these problems when they arise.

Conservation agriculture has been successful in a wide variety of environments and socio-economic circumstances, provided that farmers adapt the principles to their own situations. In places where farmers have been practising conservation agriculture for several seasons or more, many report decreased weed and disease problems, improved soil structure, more stable yields, decreased need for labour, and a more sustainable farming system overall.


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