Irish Aid Project 1

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"Innovations to Practice through Demand-Driven Participatory Farm Radio Campaigns"

Content and Rationale

African small-scale farmers, particularly female farmers, have the potential to dramatically increase their production of nutritious food, even in the context of a changing climate. In so doing, they can boost their food security, provide better nourishment to their children, and exit poverty. 

There have been many investments, therefore, in the development of agricultural innovations that are “climate smart” and “nutrition sensitive”.  Research institutes, with considerable donor support, have developed many technologies that can play an important role in helping farmers achieve their food, nutrition, and income goals.  However, far too often, these innovations fail to be adopted by the small-scale farmers that would benefit from them.   There are several reasons for this, but two stand out.  First, there have been few efforts to match the felt and expressed needs and priorities of (especially female) farmers with the innovations that are developed.  Extension services, in short, are seldom demand-driven.  Second, there has been little investment in proven and effective communication strategies that help small-scale farmers understand, evaluate, make decisions about, and adopt specific innovations that correspond with their priorities.

The Innovations to Practice through Demand-Driven Participatory Farm Radio Campaigns project in Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda and Ethiopia fills the gap by taking a demand-driven, gender responsive and evidence-based approach to identifying and communicating climate smart and nutrition-sensitive innovations. This is through the use of Farm Radio International’s Participatory Radio Campaigns (PRCs).

Over a 15-month period, Farm Radio Malawi will be working with farmers, radio stations, and other partners to using the ICT-enhanced PRC strategy in order to increase use of climate-smart agricultural innovations amongst smallholder farmers.

Project Objectives

Goal:    Use FRI’s Participatory Radio Campaign approach to enable 250,000 farmers, including at least 125,000 female farmers in Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Ethiopia to learn about and evaluate improved nutrition- and climate-smart agriculture practices developed through research and responsive to farmer priorities. 

Specific Objectives:

  1. To enable participatory, farmer-led, gender sensitive, selection of four climate-smart agricultural innovations that respond to the interests and demands of small-scale farming women and men in four countries.
  2. To engage and build capacity of partner radio station to produce an effective Climate-smart Participatory Radio Campaign.
  3. To plan, produce and broadcast one Participatory Radio Campaign (PRC) reaching 125, 000 farming families, resulting in greater knowledge of featured innovations among at least 250,000 farmers and in the adoption of these practices by at least 25,000 farmers by December 2013.
  4. To activate and support 20 community radio listener groups with a total of 400 women members to regularly listen to and interact with the PRC.
  5. Evaluate the process and outcomes and share the results.

Project Implementation Approach

The project will offer a demand-driven communication service to farmers by carefully consulting with small-scale farmers (privileging female farmers) to assess their agricultural goals and challenges, and then identify climate smart innovations that respond to their needs and priorities. It will work with key knowledge partners such as Department of Land Resource Conservation under the Ministry of Agriculture, and Bunda College of Agriculture in order to engage farmers in a process of articulating technologies they require.

The major activities that will be implemented are as follows:

  1. Develop and conduct participatory rapid appraisal with communities and research partners.
  2. Engage and build capacity of partner radio station to produce an effective Climate-smart Participatory Radio Campaign.
  3. Partner with key knowledge partners to offer technical support in the design and implementation of the Participatory Radio Campaign.
  4. Activate and support community radio listener groups to regularly listen to and interact with the PRC.
  5. Produce and broadcast one 12-16 week PRC related to climate smart agriculture technology selected by farmers.
    Conduct outcome evaluations for the process and PRC.