admin | June 9, 2019
As Farm Radio International celebrates 40 years of working with rural radio broadcasters, the organization is reviewing its strategic plan. So in April, we asked you to complete a survey and tell us what challenges you face as a broadcaster and how Farm Radio International can better support you to improve the quality and sustainability of your radio station.
We received responses from 81 broadcasters, most of whom work at community radio stations (43%) or commercial radio stations (28%), although some work at national broadcasters, religious radio stations, or for NGOs that work with radio. Respondents live all across Africa: 44 are Francophone, 17 are from Tanzania (and speak Swahili), and 20 are Anglophone. Most work for a medium-sized station with 5 to 15 staff.
More than half are current or former project partners, but many are simply broadcasting partners (35%) who receive our resources by email or WhatsApp and participate in training opportunities offered by Farm Radio International.
Based on the survey results, it seems that Farm Radio International is generally doing a good job of sharing information materials such as Barza Wire and Farm Radio Resource Packs. FRI produces radio scripts, backgrounders, news stories, and other resources with the intention that radio broadcasters adapt these resources for their radio programs. (Learn more about adapting our resources in this Broadcaster how-to guide: http://scripts.farmradio.fm/radio-resource-packs/111-farm-radio-resource-pack/bh2-adapting-farm-radio-international-resources-radio-broadcast/)
Broadcasters indicated that they would like resources on more diverse topics, including content about their local area and in their language. This is something we hope to act on very soon in several ways, including exploring a wider range of health and rural development topics in Barza Wire. We currently publish some Barza Wire and Farm Radio Resource Pack items in Swahili, Amharic, Hausa, and Kenyan Swahili.
We heard from respondents that their main challenges are related to accessing finance, equipment, internet connectivity, and transportation. Half said they would like more technical materials (including equipment), rather than information materials, training materials, or opportunities to share experiences.
Many respondents complained that they don’t receive enough training, and this was the most frequent response when we asked what Farm Radio International can do differently. We found it particularly interesting that so many broadcasters were open to online training. We asked broadcasters to pick their two favourite training methods from four options that included online vs. face-to-face, and individual vs. group training. Online group training was the top choice for half of the respondents, and the second choice for an additional 26%. Face-to-face individual training was the top choice for 30% of respondents and second choice for 33%. Online, one-on-one coaching was a common second choice for broadcasters.
Some broadcasters mentioned that they are interested in sharing experiences with other broadcasters—including sharing ideas for program topics, technical skills, and content from interviews. We asked broadcasters how they would like to connect with each other: 43% said via WhatsApp, while 32% said face-to-face. We currently have several WhatsApp groups that allow broadcasters to interact with each other and to interact with Farm Radio International more regularly. Look for an email about how to get involved in a WhatsApp group.
Finally, we introduced Farm Radio International’s social franchise model for radio programming, called Green Leaf. Survey respondents had an overwhelmingly positive response to this type of partnership, despite the need to commit at least four hours per week to production and to include at least one woman in the production team. (Learn more about Green Leaf partners currently broadcasting in Ghana: https://wire.farmradio.fm/en/spotlights/2019/03/ghana-six-radio-stations-implement-new-farm-radio-format-while-focusing-on-women-farmers-18251)
Farm Radio International is continuing with consultations and conversations to shape our strategic goals for the next five years. We will share this vision when more details are available, but the feedback received in this survey has been an important step in understanding how we can serve you better—in the short and long term. Stay tuned for more changes coming soon! And if you would like to add your comments to these results, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, congratulations to the three prize winners, who will receive $50 CAD:
- Williams Moi, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, Uganda
- Devotha Martine, Radio Fadeco, Tanzania
- Rasmané Zongo, Radio la Voix des Balé, Burkina Faso