FRW news in brief

    | November 18, 2013

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    1-Women’s voices heard in Somalia

    Somalia’s groundbreaking all-women’s radio station, produced by and targeting women, is making waves.

    Kasmo FM has been broadcasting every day from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Mogadishu since it was launched on International Women’s Day, March 6, 2013. The station’s objective is to give Somali women a voice in the media, which is otherwise dominated by men. Half a million listeners now tune in regularly to the independently-owned radio station, dubbed “The women’s voice.”

    One listener says she loves tuning in for programming on women’s affairs, the cooking show and other interesting segments. Kasmo FM is operated by Women for Relief and Development Action, or WARDA, a Somali NGO which works on women and human rights, with sponsorship from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO.

    Zahra Abdullahi Yusuf is the director of Kasmo FM. She says, “The radio has awareness programs that tell parents that if a woman is educated, it’s like the whole family is educated, and an educated family is like an educated nation.”

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    2- iCow: An app for dairy farmers

    A mobile phone application is lowering rates of cow mortality and helping Kenyan dairy farmers get better yields.

    The iCow application is an SMS service, developed by Green Dreams Limited of Kenya, which has been proven to work on basic mobile phones.

    Seventy-five per cent of the dairy industry in Kenya is dominated by smallholder farmers. iCow provides users with three main functions: access to information such as tips on animal husbandry, a calendar to keep track of the best time to mate cows and how long they have been pregnant, and a database of veterinary and support services in the area.

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    3- ‘Mkulima Young’ encourages young people to farm

    More young adults in Kenya are becoming interested in profitable careers as farmers, thanks to a social media campaign which is re-branding the profession.

    Mkulima Young is a website dedicated to engaging youth on agricultural issues. The site has grown rapidly since it was launched last year. Over 20,000 people have liked the Mkulima [“farmer” in Swahili] Young Facebook page, posted online comments on agricultural topics, and shared links, photos and videos.

    Based on research which shows that young farmers like to hear about peers who overcome challenges and make a profit, the campaign also uses radio and SMS to make agricultural topics more relevant to young farmers.

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