Fana Broadcasting Corporation helps female farmers overcome gender bias

| August 2, 2020

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In southern Ethiopia, the staff of Fana Broadcasting Corporation recognize that men and women face different challenges. In the surrounding region, there is still discrimination against women. This compounds women’s challenges, making it more difficult for them to earn an income in agriculture.

That is why female experts and farmers often share their knowledge on Murutta(Women’s Participation in Agriculture), a program that encourages women to achieve economic success and participate equally in agriculture.

Broadcast for 30 minutes every Saturday, the program is presented by female broadcaster Ms. Abebech Keshamo. She is supported by editor and program producer Mr. Mathewos Feleke, station manager Mr. Ascenak Gudu, program editor Mr. Yosef Curuko, and drama script writer Mr. Tilahun Hussen.

In southern Ethiopia, common sayings demean the capabilities of women and reinforce the belief that women are not equal to men. To counter this reality, women interviewed on the program share the steps they took to overcome these gender biases and succeed in agriculture.

In a typical episode, a 10-minute information or drama script is read, followed by contributions from experts and female farmers from the community. For example, in one episode on conservation agriculture, experts and a local development organization explained the topic, followed by a female model farmer who shared her experiences.

Another episode featured Ms. Ishale Wolaitta, a community member who made it clear that women have the same right as men to participate in farming. Many women in southern Ethiopia rely on their husbands’ income. Ms. Wolaitta said that women’s equal right to participate in farming is a way for women to achieve economic success and independence from their husbands.

Although it can be difficult for women to share their stories on-air, one woman makes a path for others. As women who have achieved economic independence or succeeded in agriculture share their experiences on-air, they inspire more women to do the same.

The program also presents all-female panel discussions and uses recording technologies such as Uliza (a platform which enables broadcasters and listeners to interact) to capture more listener voices.Already,through the work of Fana Broadcasting Corporation,women in southern Ethiopia have become more familiar with their rights and are encouraged to participate in farming as equals with men.

Fana Broadcasting Corporation was a runner-up for the Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio in 2020. Read more profiles of the runners-up and winner in the Spotlight section.