FRW news in brief

    | September 29, 2014

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    1-Ethiopia: Farmer hotline heats up

    Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, and Ethio Telecom have launched an information hotline to provide rural, small-scale farmers with access to timely and relevant agricultural advice.

    In the 12 weeks since it was launched, 300,000 farmers have made over 1.5 million calls to the service. This success underlines the demand for agricultural extension services in hard-to-reach parts of Tigray, Oromia, SNNP and Amhara regions.

    The free telephone hotline provides pre-recorded information on land preparation, planting, crop protection, post-harvest activities, fertilizer application, processing, irrigation and weather. An SMS alert system notifies farmers and government extension agents about other agricultural issues.

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    2-Nigeria: Soap operas tackle serious issues

    Television soap operas have long been popular in Nigeria. But one of the longest running soaps is broadcast on the radio.

    Story, Story: Voices from the Market is a drama recorded in real locations rather than a radio studio. A recent episode dealt with the Ebola outbreak. One of the characters fell ill with the virus after returning to Nigeria, providing a platform to air critical information on the virus.

    The program’s producers believe radio soap operas like Story, Story, with their millions of dedicated listeners, can help with situations like the current Ebola outbreak.

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    3-Central African Republic: Supporting local media to end violence

    The ongoing violence in the Central African Republic represents an opportunity for the media to play an important role in facilitating communication and dialogue in the country.

    Radio is the most popular and accessible medium in the CAR. Under-resourced radio stations often use newspaper stories as on-air news items. But if these stories are inaccurate or misleading, the already tense situation can be further damaged.

    To promote peace and national reconciliation, the Association of Journalists for Human Rights is mentoring a network of 18 community correspondents across the country. The organization provides workshops on how to sensitively cover stories on violence, and produces and distributes radio news bulletins in French and Sango to local FM and shortwave stations.

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