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Tips for addressing gender equality in your farmer program: Part one

Last year, Farm Radio International launched the first Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio. We received 40 applications. These applications included great tips for addressing gender equality in your radio program. Here are some of the tips:

Have a program dedicated to women’s issues

Uganda’s Community Green Radio launched a special program called Nyinabwenge, which means “woman” in the local Runyoro language. It’s a platform for women to speak up about the issues affecting them and find solutions. The station uses listener clubs to identify topics to be discussed in future episodes. Listener clubs also frequently contribute to the call-in segment. You can address gender equality in your established programs—and dedicate a whole program to the issue!

Invite men to talk about women’s successes

Breeze FM, in Zambia, has a program called Mzimai Angakwanise, which focuses on women’s achievements. This program is a short 15 minutes. The purpose of the program is to give women the opportunity to speak about their challenges and achievements. Men contribute to the program as well because local traditions and cultural beliefs contribute to the sense that men are superior to women. On this program, women’s rights are discussed as people’s rights.

Choose topics that both women and men are interested in

Radio Simba is a radio station in the Central Region of Uganda. The station knows that women make up roughly half the population. So if they want more listeners, broadcasters need to make sure that their program, Lutabanjaliire, discusses topics that are interesting to both women and men. They know their audience is diverse in its interests and expectations for the program, so they must try to serve everyone.

Air your program at a time when women are listening and in the language they prefer

Women and men live busy lives with many responsibilities, many of which must be taken care of at specific times. Voice of Kigezi, which broadcasts from Kabale, Uganda, consulted women to learn when they were available to listen to the radio. That’s when they air B’omugaiga, a program that shares information with small-scale farmers to boost their income.

Many of our broadcasting partners are proud to air their programs in local languages. In some areas, this can create additional challenges. Many languages may be spoken in the area, so some broadcasters air their farmer program three or four times a week, each time in a different language! And many broadcasters find it difficult to access resources or arrange interviews with experts in particular languages. While it takes effort to address language barriers, the effort pays off when more farmers—particularly women farmers—are able to understand the radio program.

Have a woman host / member of the production team.

The broadcasters at Voice of Kigezi, in Uganda, know that, in order to air a gender-sensitive farmer program, they need a woman’s perspective, both on the production team and on air. Brenda Murangi Muswisagye co-hosts the B’omugaiga program to share the perspectives of women at each step of the production process. And by hearing a woman’s voice on air, more women may be encouraged to tune in.

The broadcasters at Radio Koury Kan in Sikasso, Mali, have found that women are more open to being interviewed by a female broadcaster, so they make sure that both a male and female journalist go to the field to collect interviews and vox pops.

The broadcasters at Voice of Kigezi and Radio Koury Kan say that they try to find both male and female resource people to be interviewed in studio.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Barza Wire, when we’ll present the rest of our useful tips for addressing gender equality in your radio programs!

Photo: Women being interviewed in Njombe, Tanzania. Credit: IDRC / Bartay.