Farm Radio International | December 7, 2020
Last month, we asked broadcasting partners to respond to a survey about the resources and services Farm Radio provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few months, we have produced many information resources, including FAQs and Broadcaster how-to guides, as well as scripts, backgrounders, and Farmer stories about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on rural communities. We also hosted WhatsApp discussions with experts, created an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) hotline to share information, and offered emergency funds.
Find all of our Farmer stories about the COVID-19 pandemic here: https://wire.farmradio.fm/tag/emergencies/
Find all of our other radio resources about the COVID-19 pandemic here: http://scripts.farmradio.fm/radio-resource-packs/covid-19-resources/
Some popular resources include:
- Backgrounder: How to keep food fresh for longer
- Script: Impact of COVID-19 on availability of fresh vegetables
- Drama: Lockdown rage
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Broadcaster how-to guide: Fake news
- Broadcaster how-to guide: How broadcasters can stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Broadcaster how-to guide: Working remotely as a radio broadcaster
We received survey feedback from 183 radio broadcasters at 177 different radio stations or organizations in 18 countries. About half of these responses came from our partners in West Africa.
Almost all had aired programming about COVID-19, and most started airing this programming in March or April. A large portion—80%—said they broadcast information about COVID-19 daily, either on one program or on multiple programs. This most often included the health program, but also news/politics programs, women’s programs, farmer programs, children’s programs, and others.
We were most interested in whether our resources and services helped to increase the capacity of our broadcasting partners to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The results were positive: 90% said they agreed or strongly agreed that we increased their capacity. We also wanted to know how we increased our partners’ capacity. The most common response, selected by 76% of respondents, was that our resources and services helped them find answers to their questions, and the questions of their listeners. Other popular responses included:
- Our resources and services helped them to broadcast more information and more programs/ segments on COVID-19 (70%)
- Our resources and services made planning and producing programming easier (68%)
- Our resources helped them work more safely (66.5%)
Many people also said they used resources from other sources, and we are happy that you had access to useful information from multiple places.
The feedback on our radio resources, some of which are listed above, was positive. Almost all (91%) had used our resources to plan or produce programming. The basic information and Frequently Asked Questions documents were very popular, with more than 80% of people saying they were useful or very useful. Our how-to guides were also very popular, with 80% finding the fake news guide to be useful or very useful, and 76% finding the other two to be useful or very useful.
Our WhatsApp groups were also a very convenient service for broadcasting partners in these groups. (If you are not yet in a WhatsApp group and would like to join, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who indicated in the survey that they would like to join will be added shortly.) Our WhatsApp groups are meant to be a place where broadcasters can come together to share experiences, questions, and resources. We share Farm Radio’s resources there, as well as our own expertise. Occasionally, we invite expert guests to join the group as well.
We asked our partners how they benefited from the WhatsApp groups in recent months, and the top three responses were:
- They learned from experts who participated in the group.
- They learned about fake news and myths, and the information necessary to counter these myths.
- They learned how to work safely during the pandemic.
Respondents were very satisfied with the expert discussions that took place in the WhatsApp groups, rating them 4.6 out of 5. Generally, they felt they learned a lot and found the topics interesting and the discussion easy to follow. Many (61%) had the opportunity to have their questions answered. We know that not all topics were equally interesting. But we hope to invite experts on a variety of topics to join the groups from time to time to share their knowledge.
Other questions in the survey addressed the IVR and chatbot services, the contact list resource, the work of our local networkers who communicated with broadcasting partners, and the emergency fund we offered. We are continuing to analyze these new services so that we can improve these the next time they are offered.
Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. The following five individuals were drawn as winners of the $50 CA mobile money prize:
- Karadio Diarra, Radio Niamana, Mali
- Zoumana Coulibaly, Radio Dakan, Mali
- Prince Abankwah, Obuoba FM, Ghana
- James Jemo Muya, Ateker Moroto FM, Uganda
- Pricilla Tachie, Winners FM, Ghana