Farm Radio Trust (FRT) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that exists to foster rural and agricultural development in Malawi through the use of radio and other information and communications technologies (ICTs).
For years, many have suspected radio’s potential as an informative tool to help smallholder farmers in Africa better obtain food, nutrition and income security. But as of 2007, little data had been collected to prove these suspicions true. Farm Radio International (FRI), a Canadian NGO, launched a 3-year study that was conducted in 5 African countries, including Malawi. The research findings confirmed radio’s status as an accessible, powerful medium of communication in the promotion of improved agricultural practices. The project found radio to be particularly valuable when combined with ICTs to develop participatory radio programming, which gives listeners a voice and allows them to get involved.
Born from this research project was FRT, an independent, self-existent organization, established in 2009. Since our inception, FRT has made strides in agricultural and rural development through our variety of programs.
What We Do
Among FRT’s many activities, our main functions include:
- Providing farmer advisory services through impactful radio programming in conjunction with other ICTs
- Training and building capacity of broadcasters and radio stations
- Promoting participatory radio campaigns facilitated by the use of ICTs
- Researching, documenting and managing knowledge surrounding beneficial, evidence-based farming practices and farm radio programming
- Advocating for an amplified position of radio and ICTs in agricultural development, as well as for increased access to agricultural information by smallholder farmers.
- Supporting partnerships and collaboration within the farm radio world and associated industries
While our motto remains ‘Farmers First; Farmers Throughout; Farmers Last’, FRT programs are not exclusively limited to traditional farm radio programming and agricultural-specific information: Our first foray into health development has proven to be our most popular program yet. Aimed to improve the mental health of young people throughout Malawi, the Mental Health Integrated Innovations Programme (MHII) combined the weekly broadcasting of radio dramas with participatory use of ICTs, school curriculum development, capacity building of health care providers, and youth club sessions. The success of this program, along with our many others, solidifies FRT’s status as innovative leaders in Malawian development.
Accreditations & Partnerships
FRT was officially registered as a trust in July 2009. It is also registered as an NGO with the Council for Non-Governmental Organizations’ in Malawi (CONGOMA), and as well as with the NGO Board of Malawi. Today, FRT maintains a strategic partnership with FRI.