The sweet sound of radio for Ugandan farmers

    | June 24, 2013

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    Farm Radio International is putting the power of radio drama to work in Uganda. This week marks the launch of “My Children,” a radio drama series that aims to convince farmers to replace traditional varieties of sweet potato with a more nutritious, orange-fleshed alternative.

    Farm Radio International’s new radio drama targets vitamin A deficiency by encouraging farmers to grow and eat orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.

    The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million preschool children are vitamin A deficient. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children and can increase the risk of maternal mortality in pregnant women.

    In the drama, “My Children,” Florence is the fictional heroine. But the story of this Ugandan mother and farmer is very real for many families in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Florence knows something is wrong with her children. They are chronically ill, have bad skin, suffer from diarrhoea and are frequently coughing. She learns that many of these problems can be reduced through diet − for example, by growing and eating a vitamin A-rich tuber, the orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP).

    The 30-episode radio drama is currently in production and will be aired in six languages by ten partner radio stations in Uganda. This audio clip is from the Luganda production:

    The script (in English) is available here:

    The partner radio stations (Mega FM, Radio Waa, Kamuli Broadcasting (KBS), Central Broadcasting (CBS), Liberty FM, Radio West, Voice of Kigezi, Voice of Kamwenge, Voice of Muhabura, and KKCR) have a potential listenership of 25 million people.

    Farm Radio International expects that, because 350,000 households in 13 districts will have access to the mini-series, the drama will contribute to increased knowledge of the nutrition, preparation and consumption of OFSP.