Annual Report 2014-2015: Amplifying Voice
For the audited financial statements for 2013-2014 please go here.
We also created an online interactive version of this annual report here.
Farm Radio International is committed to the principles of sharing knowledge and giving voice.
Since our founding in 1979, we have been committed to serving small-scale farmers by sharing practical advice through the production and distribution of radio scripts and news stories. And we now have 600 broadcasting partners in 38 African countries!
Knowledge transforms lives
We know that knowledge can transform lives by empowering farmers and rural communities to tackle a variety of development challenges, from producing more food and protecting the local environment, to promoting good health and generating economic opportunities. But we also know that sharing knowledge is not enough. Farming families need to have a stronger voice in their own development. In the past, radio couldn’t do much to enable this dialogue. Now it can, thanks to the cellphone—a device that is now available to the large majority of African rural households.
In 2014-2015, we made significant progress towards supporting our partners to make radio the voice- giving platform that farmers need.
• We worked with radio partners to introduce beep2vote and call-in segments to regularly engage the participation and feedback of listeners in farm radio programs. Beep2vote invites farmers to respond to a poll question by ‘beeping’ (calling and hanging up before charges apply) one of two numbers, to signal their response. Now virtually every farmer program we are involved in features the views, voices and questions of small-scale farmers.
• In Tanzania, we conducted the first ever nation- wide farmer poll using beep2vote. Over 9,000 farmers from across the country participated in the ‘Paza Sauti’ poll (“Raise Your Voice”). The results were presented to the President of Tanzania and the Minister of Agriculture at a major event organized together with ONE, an international organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty. In this way, thousands of farmers had their views delivered straight to the top decision-makers.
• Through Barza Wire, our weekly electronic news and information service, we tell the stories of farmers who have found their own solutions to farming challenges. These stories are distributed to more than over 2,800 subscribers across Africa.
Providing voice-giving radio to rural communities requires a new set of broadcasting skills. Through both hands-on and internet-based training, we built the skills of dozens of radio production teams at over 50 partner radio stations, making their programming both entertaining and educational—and therefore engaging to listeners. The trend is clear and accelerating: The more training we do in this area, the more common it is to hear farmers’ voices broadcast over the airwaves in rural Africa.
We thank our staff, board members, funders, partner radio stations and volunteers for contributing to our work over the last year. Together, we are strengthening African farming communities by sharing knowledge and giving voice.
Chair of the Board of Directors