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  • Hannah Clark

FVR Academy graduate project

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Hannah Davies (Cup North), Holly Kragiopoulos (North Star Coffee), Cristina Talens (Source Climate Change Coffee) and Hannah Clark  (Farmers' Voice Radio).
Dala FM presenter

We are always delighted to hear updates from graduates of our Farmers Voice Radio Academy, our unique programme that provides free training for farmer organisations from all over the world to launch their own participatory radio series.

In the West of Kenya in Kisumu County, FVR Academy graduate Steven Tolo volunteers for Kajulu Hills Ecovillages, a local NGO that promotes restoration of indigenous agroecological ecosystems for food security and recreation of lost livelihoods. In November 2022 they launched an exciting new radio programme focused on regenerative agriculture, broadcast each Sunday on Dala FM for 16 weeks. The motivation for starting the programme was to support the Luo-speaking community in this region, who are dependent on farming for their livelihood and many of whom live in poverty. The way of life in this region is under threat as many people have been forced to leave their homes in search of work in the cities and are unsupported by other farming associations or co-operatives. There was a growing sense of urgency to bring the community together to share more economically viable farming methods and to advocate for more environmentally friendly practices.

Most of the farming in the community is undertaken by women who cultivate crops in their gardens for the household to survive on and Steven wanted to ensure the programmes spoke to them. Through the transformational power of radio it was hoped the programmes would reduce the communities’ dependency on conventional pesticides and mono crops that damage the soil and degrade the land. By structuring the 15-minute-long programmes to correspond with the harvest calendar the Kajulu Hills production team was able to make the information as relevant as possible to farmers. Each programme episode was aired twice first thing in the morning with a repeat in the evening in order to maximise reach with the target audience: around 8,000 farmers living in the immediate area and a wider audience of up to 30,000 in neighbouring? Nyanza. To encourage participation and collaboration, listeners were encouraged to call or send an SMS with their questions and comments.

Engaging content delivered by trusted voices from a Programme Reference Group of local farmers was aired as part of the programmes and this ensured the shows were relatable. PRG member Rosemary said, “It was my best experience being famous around my community and learning more on my passion for farming. Listening to myself speak to others was a whole moment to remember”. Over a 6-month period, numerous topics were discussed and listeners contributions welcomed. The content of the programmes varied from how to use organic manure, ways to boost indigenous seed conservation, how to encourage effective implementation of a pest management system and methods for increasing crop yields. A 76-year-old farmer called Wilson explained how it had “helped me save cost of production”. Through positive role- modelling the radio show was able to give listeners a greater sense of ownership over their farming and the confidence to adopt new farming methods. Rosemary commented further: “How I look at farming has changed since I understand I have to care for the earth and people at the same time”.

For more information about the Farmers’ Voice Radio Academy and eligibility criteria for participating organisations, please visit our dedicated webpage.

Participant group Farmers' Voice Radio in Kisumu, West of Kenya 2023. Credit: Steve Tolo

Recording Farmers' Voice Radio in Kisumu, West of Kenya 2023. Credit: Steve Tolo



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