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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.

Radio Resource Bank

World AIDS Day 2014

World AIDS Day is held annually on December 1. First held in 1988, the day is an opportunity for people to unite locally and globally in the fight against HIV, and to show their support for people living with HIV.

An estimated 34 million people live with HIV globally. More than 35 million have died from diseases related to the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

There have been many scientific advances in HIV treatment over the years. There are now laws to protect people living with HIV, and much more is understood about living with HIV. Yet some people still do not know, or choose to ignore, the facts about how to protect themselves and others from the virus.

Stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day reminds us and our governments that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

On World AIDS Day 2014, the World Health Organization will issue new recommendations to help countries close important gaps in HIV prevention and treatment services.

These guidelines will include advice on providing antiretroviral drugs for people who have been exposed to HIV – such as health workers, sex workers, and survivors of rape. They will also include recommendations on preventing and managing common infections and diseases ― severe bacterial and malaria infections, cryptococcal meningitis, and the many oral and skin infections that can affect people living with HIV.

You can find more information and campaign materials on the WHO website: http://www.who.int/campaigns/aids-day/2014/event/en/

Several resources are available free on the UNAIDS website: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2014

There is a useful fact sheet at this address: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/2014/2014gapreport/factsheet

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Take back the tech!

Take Back The Tech! is a collaborative campaign that will take place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, which runs from November 25 – December 10.

The 2014 campaign is titled Violence silences: Document. Challenge. Reclaim women’s right to expression. It is a call to everyone ― especially women and girls ― to take control of technology to end violence against women.

The Internet is an increasingly important public space, and online violence is a real threat, narrowing women’s capacity to participate in and define the space. Violence against women restricts freedom of expression. Online violence, often referred to as cvberbullying, makes it difficult for women to participate in the public sphere and contribute to culture and decision-making, and makes women afraid to critique policies and systems.

Exercising the right to freedom of expression is critical to ending violence and promoting other rights. This change can be brought about by speaking up, making violence visible, exchanging information, and building solidarity through communication.
As part of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, Take Back the Tech! invites people to help focus the conversation about violence against women on violating a woman’s fundamental human right to freedom of expression.

Find out more at the Take back the tech! website: https://www.takebackthetech.net/page/about-campaign

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Tackling Ebola at ground zero: African singers and artists unite to record Africa Stop Ebola

A collective of African artists has united to record a song to raise awareness about Ebola. This song will raise funds to support the work of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in West Africa.

Africa Stop Ebola is now available for download through all major online music retailers. The song features West African artists Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Kandia Kora, Mory Kante, Sia Tolno, and Barbara Kanam, rappers Didier Awadi, Marcus and Mokobé, and musicians Sekou Kouyaté (electric guitar, bass, and electric kora) and Ludovic N’Holle (drums).

The song gives citizens information on what they can do about Ebola, and provides hope that this epidemic can be stopped. It is performed in French and in other languages widely spoken across the region. This ensures that the message will be understood regardless of the listener’s level of literacy or education.

A video clip of the song is being promoted on TV and local websites throughout West Africa, with the support of a team of local music promoters and community organizations. Africa Stop Ebola has also been distributed to radio stations across the region, with support from AMARC, the World Association of Community Radio Stations.
MSF is providing independent medical aid and emergency relief to Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, and has deployed more than 3,300 dedicated health workers in the field.

A video clip of the song is available at:

Editor’s note: If you are a West African radio broadcaster and would like to play the song on your airwaves, listen to the audio file here: https://soundcloud.com/africastopebola/africa-stop-ebola

For more information, please email africastopebola@gmail.com.

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Video and audio available for download: Ebola: A Poem for the Living

This video animation, created for use in West Africa, is designed to help dispel myths about how Ebola is spread, and to prevent infection and further spread of the disease.

The story is told from the point of view of a Liberian teenager who is speaking to his parents, brother and sister from his hospital bed. He warns them about the disease and tells them how to avoid infection. The story highlights the need for isolation, and shows the heartache of a family which is unable to comfort, touch, or care for the very sick boy.

His words comfort those who must be separated from their loved ones in order to take care of themselves and stay away from those who are ill.

The video, which uses only young voices, is available in several languages, including English (Nigerian, Liberian, Sierra Leonean and South African dialects), French (for Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea), Krio, Pidgin, Portuguese and Swahili.

The video can be downloaded in high definition, low definition, for use on mobile platforms and as stand-alone audio files at this link: http://www.umcom.org/global-communications/ebola-a-poem-for-the-living

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Community seed banks: Junior Farmer Field and Life School − Facilitator’s guide

Farmers and their families have been saving seeds for millennia. Seed saving has allowed farmers to cultivate a large number of local varieties which are adapted to different environmental conditions, including shortage of water, strong winds, and limited soil nutrients.

Community seed banks can help farmers access seeds for the next planting season, or can act as an emergency seed supply when crops are damaged or destroyed. In view of the growing impact of climate change on agricultural production, planting local varieties with a high degree of genetic diversity is critically important. Such varieties can better withstand and adapt to environmental stresses and changes.

This 30-page handbook from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization contains useful information for farmers and community leaders who want to encourage young people to create their own local seed bank.

The guidebook can be downloaded free from the FAO website: http://www.fao.org/publications/card/en/c/25948b52-993f-4da9-a682-d44c952376df/

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International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists: November 2, 2014

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The date was chosen to commemorate the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on November 2, 2013.

Why is there an International Day of Commemoration?

  • 593 killings of journalists were condemned by UNESCO between 2006 and 2013. In 2012 alone, the UNESCO Director-General condemned the killing of 123 journalists, media workers, and social media producers of public interest journalism
  • Less than 6 % of the 593 cases have been resolved
  • 94% of killed journalists are local correspondents
  • 41% of killed journalists worked in the print media
  • Only one in 10 cases of crimes against journalists, social media producers and media workers has led to a conviction

These figures do not include the many journalists who suffer non-fatal attacks on a daily basis, including torture, forced disappearances, arbitrary detention, intimidation and harassment in both conflict and non-conflict situations. Women journalists also face specific risks, including sexual attacks.

When attacks on journalists go unpunished, it sends the message that reporting the “embarrassing truth” or “unwanted opinions” will get people in trouble. Society as a whole suffers from this impunity. The kind of news that is silenced is exactly the kind the public needs to know.

You can read the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity here: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/freedom-of-expression/safety-of-journalists/un-plan-of-action/

For more information about the Day, go to the UNESCO website where you will find news of events and further resources: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/int-day-to-end-impunity/international-day-to-end-impunity-2014/

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Ebola: Key facts

The World Health Organization has published several pages of information about the Ebola virus on its website, including measures to prevent its spread. This information can be used to prepare programs to raise awareness among your listeners.

The underlying message is this: the risk of Ebola transmission is low. Infection requires direct, physical contact with the bodily fluids (vomit, feces, urine, blood, semen, etc.) of people who are infected with Ebola.

To protect yourself, your family, and your community from Ebola, go immediately to the nearest health facility if you develop symptoms of Ebola. These include high fever, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, and heavy or uncontrollable bleeding. Isolation and professional treatment increase a person’s chance of survival.

A fact sheet is available here: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

Advice concerning hand washing, what to do if you are travelling, and food safety is available at this address: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/what-you-need-to-know/en/

There are several up-to-date information resources on this page: http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/ebola/en/

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Free on-line agricultural training videos: Crops, livestock and business skills

Access Agriculture is an international NGO that encourages the use of training videos to help farmers improve their farming and generate higher profits. The organization’s videos are designed to support sustainable agriculture in developing countries.

The videos, available in several languages, are designed for use by agricultural research and development staff and communication professionals. Extension agents or representatives of farmer organizations will also find the information useful in the trainings they provide to farmers.

The videos can be downloaded or watched online. In addition, the audio tracks can be downloaded for use by radio stations, and DVD copies of programs can be requested on Access Agriculture’s website.

You can search the website at this address: http://www.accessagriculture.org/

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Guidebook: World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has produced a guidebook entitled World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development. The book offers a new look at recent evolutions in media freedom, independence, pluralism and journalist safety. It explores these subjects at the international level and with respect to gender and global media.

The overarching trend documented in the book is that the disruption brought on by technology and, to a lesser extent, the global economic crisis, has had mixed results for freedom of expression and media development.

This publication comes at a critical moment for press freedom, amid unprecedented opportunities for expression of new voices as well as new forms of restriction, surveillance and control.

World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development is a key resource for governments, the media, academia, the private sector and civil society, and an interesting read for anyone interested in the contemporary media environment.

To download the full text as a PDF document, go to: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002270/227025e.pdf

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Online resource: United Nations Children’s Fund Ebola information

The United Nations Children’s Fund’s Communication for Development section is sharing information on how to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.

UNICEF has been working closely on this issue with the World Health Organization and other partners, communities, governments, and UN agencies. The resources will be continually updated to enable prompt responses to this humanitarian crisis.

The online collection of materials is designed to assist individuals and organizations in countries dealing with an Ebola outbreak to respond with accurate information in a timely fashion.

Materials include fact sheets emphasizing key messages, brochures, slide presentations, and other visual and audio resources. There are also training materials such as guidelines for community volunteers.

Other tools available through the webpage include Behaviour Change Communication in Emergencies:  A ToolkitEssentials for Excellence ─ Research, Monitoring and Evaluating Strategic Communication; and the UNICEF Cholera Toolkit.

To access this bank of resources, available in English, French, Portuguese and other languages, go to: http://www.unicef.org/cbsc/index_73157.html

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Climate change in Africa: A guidebook for journalists

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has produced a guidebook for journalists who report on, or who wish to improve their reporting on, the changing climate in Africa.

Climate change poses a clear danger to lives and livelihoods across Africa. Journalists have critical roles to play by explaining the causes and effects of climate change, describing what countries and communities can do to adapt to the likely impacts, and reporting on the actions that governments and companies take, or do not take, to respond to these threats.

Research on public understanding of climate change and surveys of journalists show that, across Africa, the media can do more to tell the story of climate change. UNESCO produced this guidebook to address this gap in reporting on the complex phenomenon of climate change.

The authors of the guide represent organizations that have trained hundreds of journalists around the world to report more effectively on climate change. They consulted 44 journalists from 17 African countries and 38 climate change specialists, who provided their insights on what was missing from African media coverage and how this book can help fill those gaps.

For more information and to download the guidebook in English or French, go to: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/publications-and-communication-materials/publications/full-list/climate-change-in-africa-a-guidebook-for-journalists/

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New publication: Reporting justice: A handbook on covering war crimes courts

The Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) aims to give voice to people on the frontlines of conflict, crisis and change. Working from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the organization describes its aims as helping people in the world’s most challenging environments to access the information they need to drive positive changes in their lives – holding government to account, demanding constructive solutions, strengthening civil society and securing human rights.

IWPR works to forge the skills and capacity of local journalism, strengthen local media institutions, and engage civil society and governments to ensure that information achieves impact.

Like any specialized journalism, reporting on war crimes has its own demands and its own rules. Historical background, procedures and law must be understood.

IWPR’s new publication − Reporting justice: a handbook on covering war crimes courts – aims to give reporters the tools to properly report on the trials of war crime suspects or investigate war crimes on the ground.

To download the PDF file of this handbook in English, French or Portuguese, go to: http://iwpr.net/reporting-justice-handbook-covering-war-crimes-courts

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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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Radio talkshows for peacebuilding: A guide

Everyone would like to live in a peaceful society, one not driven by hatred and violence. But the question is: how to get there?

Radio Talkshows for Peacebuilding: A guide contains tools and examples for creating talk shows in ways that contribute to peace. The guide was produced by the Radio for Peacebuilding Africa project, a program of the NGOSearch 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 help build a peaceful society; and descriptions and definitions of the different types of talk shows and their respective strengths and weaknesses.

The guidebook was written for radio broadcasters who produce or present radio talk shows in countries or regions experiencing conflict. It focuses mainly on conflicts between groups, peoples or countries which are either violent or at risk of becoming violent. The guide is written with Africa in mind, and most of the examples are drawn from African countries.

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

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Audio postcards: Farm Radio International’s messages to you

Farm Radio International continues to produce audio postcards to inform you about the work we do with farmers and broadcasters. Why not check out three of our latest offerings?

In Ghanaian farmers capitalized on ICT to connect with markets, Farm Radio International (Ghana) ICT officer Nathaniel Ofori describes how a recently completed project, Purchase for Progress, used radio and ICT to improve the knowledge and skills of members of farmer organizations. The project focused on sustainably producing high-quality staple foods — particularly maize and cowpea — and post-harvest handling of these crops for home consumption and for sale at local markets. You can listen to the audio postcard here: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/2014/07/23/audio-postcard-ghanian-farmers-capitalized-on-ict-to-connect-with-markets/

Learning how to beep to vote in Burkina Faso introduces a new Participatory Radio Campaign that encourages farmers to produce orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. The project was launched in Orodara, a town in the southwest of the country, where a local radio station broadcasts the show. You can hear more about the campaign from Emma Bider at: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/2014/07/24/learning-how-to-beep-to-vote-in-burkina-faso/

Like many other young people in rural areas in Africa, Mamadou Diarra left his village of Ballan, Mali, to make money in the city. But the city did not live up to his dreams and he soon returned home. You can hear Mamadou’s story in Meet FarmQuest candidate Mamadou Diarra at this link: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/2014/07/25/meet-farmquest-candidate-mamadou-diarra/

To access all of FRI’s audio postcards, go to: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/

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UNESCO: Empowering local radio with Information and Communication Technologies

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, has been operating an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project in seven African countries. The project’s goal is to improve the lives of the poor, especially women and girls, by improving the quality of local radio stations’ programming.

Empowering Local Radio with ICTs aims to help local radio stations acquire ICT skills and develop wider coverage of local news. The project focuses on gender equality and financial sustainability, providing better social services, and engaging the community on issues of local concern.

The UNESCO website features several ICT applications of interest to local radio stations. These free and open source programs are designed to allow radio stations to send and receive large information files through the Internet, gather information about their listeners’ locations, design websites, manage their accounts, create documents and surveys, record and edit interviews, and improve interactions with their listeners.

To access the ICTs through the UNESCO website, go to: http://en.unesco.org/radioict/icts

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Free access: BBC opens up College of Journalism websites

The BBC College of Journalism’s international language websites focus on three key aspects of journalism practice that are particularly important in the regions of the world they serve: skills, language and values.

The College of Journalism’s international language websites – which include French, Hausa and Swahili – cover the essential editorial skills that BBC World Service journalists use on a daily basis.

They explore impartiality and accuracy in language, offering journalists around the world the opportunity to view the BBC’s in-house language style guides. They also explain the editorial values that underpin all of the BBC’s journalism.

The sites address specific issues concerning the use of language, including: grammatical learning points, the development and expansion of language, new terminologies, taboo wording, the golden rules of newsroom translation, online language and, above all, mastering the use of impartial language.

The College’s webpages will be free for anyone to use for at least one year, so make the most of their availability!

For more information, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/journalism/international-promo/article/art20130919155526763

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Search for Common Ground handbook: Target audiences for peacebuilding radio

Creators of radio programs can either make a conflict worse − because they are not clear about their objectives − or they can help find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

By target their programs towards a particular group − the target audience – broadcasters can help affected communities, regions or countries find and progress along a more peaceful path.

Search for Common Ground has devised a training manual entitled Target audiences for peacebuilding. The manual aims to help broadcasters clarify the target audience for a particular program and design programs to achieve the greatest influence.

The 19-page document is available as a PDF file, and can be downloaded from this address: http://www.sfcg.org/programmes/rfpa/pdf/201010TargetAudience_EN_color.pdf

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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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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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