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The 2023 Farmers’ Voice Radio (FVR) Academy online training programme included 12 coffee, tea, shea and cocoa organisations from seven countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Togo). Tea, coffee, cocoa and shea smallholder producers are based in very rural and isolated communities and face very similar challenges related to climate change, volatile supply chains and unsustainable agricultural practices. Many of the workers involved in these crops are women, who face gender discrimination, poor education outcomes and are excluded from the information they need to improve their farming and business.  


The FVR Academy training was hugely enjoyable for the participants and the FVR team! The evaluation showed 80% of participants felt that their knowledge and skills of participatory radio significantly improved and gained confidence that their organisation would deliver a FVR programme series within the next 12 months. 100% would recommend the course to a colleague or peer at another organisation.

At the end of the course, all participants submit a fully-costed FVR Programme Concept that brings together all the learning from the course and applies it to the farming communities that the participants are working within.  The best programme concepts are selected to receive a small start-up grant to get the radio programme on the airwaves as quickly as possible!

The winner of the 2023 small grants competition was Union Kloto-Centre (KC) and Beyond Bean’s in Togo. The team at Union KC and Beyond Beans designed a radio programme that will empower the farmer members of the 65 coffee and cocoa cooperatives in Kpalimé, in the Plateaux region of Togo. Their radio programme is called ‘Vaséda’, which means, “come and listen” in Ewe, the local language.  


Célia Vidal works for Beyond Beans in Togo “This training is extremely interesting… We were able to go through all the stages involved in setting up and running a radio programme that works. Our [FVR] programme will provide producers with a channel for exchange and expression, enabling them to get their messages across and feel listened to. It will also raise the profile of their work, their communities and the coffee and cocoa supply chain. It's a good way of encouraging communities and recognising their important role.”


Check out our blog with more information about ‘Vaséda’. We can’t wait to hear about how this work progresses!

Progress on other FVR Programme Concepts from the 2023 FVR Academy

is outlined below:


FVR Academy participant, The PureTrust Foundation, has been working with a corporate partner to develop a FVR programme that aims to the strengthen the financial literacy of women shea nut collectors and butter processors in the Northern Region of Ghana.

Ruhaimatu Yazidu, Communications Officer at the PureTrust Foundation who participated in the FVR Academy, commented: “The course has been an eye opener for me personally. This is because we have had radio with us all along, yet I never really understood how far reaching it could be, especially where our target audience are very low literate farmers. I also love the fact that the farmers will be creating the content themselves. It will be very empowering to them!”

The PureTrust Foundation worked with other FVR partners in northern Ghana to produce and broadcast a series of 6 different radio programmes in Dagbani language that discussed financial planning, budgeting, saving and borrowing and financial services available to women shea collectors and processors. One of the most lively discussions was about how to talk about finances with their husbands and other family members. The women themselves presented and discussed these topics on the radio programmes that were broadcast on two radio stations, twice a week, to an estimated audience of 300,000 people.


Salani Njaya, Outgrower Manager of Thuchila Tea Assocation (TTA) in southern Malawi, also participated in the FVR Academy. Following graduation, Salani opted to collaborate with another producer organisation, Sukambizi Association Trust (SAT), and mutual partner Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), who were already implementing an FVR programme with smallholder tea farmers in the area. This resulted in three months of radio programming recorded with a combined Programme Reference Group comprising both TTA and SAT member farmers. The 12 episodes aimed to raise awareness of how protecting and planting trees can contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation and to promote ETP’s new Payment for Ecosystem Services initiative.







FVR Academy participant Beth is a coffee agronomist from Kenya who helps smallholder farmers to improve their production so that they can increase efficiency and income in a sustainable way. One of the most common challenges that she hears from the farmers she works with is how the changing seasons and increasingly frequent extreme weather events are affecting their crops and ability to earn a livelihood from coffee. Beth is currently working with a coffee farmers’ cooperative society in Kirinyaga County to develop a FVR programme concept focussed on motivating youth to get involved in coffee production, reducing the costs of production at farm level (with an emphasis on organic inputs) and increasing adoption of crop and income diversification to reduce reliance on coffee.

Beth commented: “More youthful men and women are showing interest in coffee farming in the recent years. This creates an opportunity to skill them with the available modern technologies and developments in the coffee industry through means that reach them, radio being one. Most farmers in my community listen to the radio which make it even more appropriate for use in passing useful information about coffee farming.”

BB Togo steering committee meeting 31.01

Célia Vidal, from Beyond Beans, with colleagues at Union Kloto-Centre, Togo. Credit: Beyond Beans

Thuchila Tea Assocation (TTA) Radio Champions in Malawi. Credit: TTA

Beth, coffee agronomist from Kenya and FVR Academy participant. Credit: Beth

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