In rural Mali, the radio can be an effective mode of spreading awareness about agriculture, health, food and nutrition, etc. A recent training session in radio program production, broadcasting and evaluation found eager participantion from farmers, researchers, extension agents, and more. Jointly conducted by ICRISAT and the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), Mali, the workshop involved radio broadcasters from four implementing regions of the UE-APSAN-Mali project.
Since the participants were community and national radio broadcasters working with implementing partners such as farmer organizations and NGOs, the workshop focused on sharing information on improved seeds, crop management, food diversification and nutrition embedded into the Smart Food initiative. Another focus of the training was on participatory agricultural radio programs examining improved technologies to meet the needs of the audiences from the respective target zones.
During the session, scientists in charge of sorghum, millet, groundnut and cowpea breeding from ICRISAT and IER, as well as representatives of farmers organizations (Local Union of Cereal Producers and COPROSEM) discussed the efficient use of radio as a means to reach community members.
“This two-day workshop is an opportunity to meet, exchange information and strengthen the collaboration between all actors for good dissemination and better impact of agricultural technologies in the target communities,” said Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Regional Director, West and Central Africa, in his opening remarks.
“The choice of the radio as the preferred means of communicating the EU-APSAN-Mali project’s achievements is not by accident. Admittedly, information technologies have grown rapidly over the past three decades, but even then, radio remains a popular, economical and accessible means of communication in rural farming areas.
“It allows us to communicate in the local language to inform, give voice to rural development actors and build social awareness to accelerate adoption of new technologies for change.
“While choosing to dedicate space to this exceptional communication tool that is radio, we remain open to other means of information and communication that are participatory in approach. The main objective of this workshop is to bridge the gap between rural radio experts and agricultural extensionists, as well as that between researchers and extension agents.
“We hope that this workshop will also mark the beginning of participatory agricultural radio program broadcaster network towards an increased impact of the EU-APSAN-Mali project as well as other ICRISAT and IER projects in Mali,” said Dr Tabo.
The training consisted of presentations of various improved technologies by scientists, followed by working groups to identify the information needs of different segment of targeted audiences. It was organized by the communication services of ICRISAT and IER (lead implementing partners of the UE-APSAN-Mali project), in collaboration with FOSCAR-Mali, an expert of participatory radio programs and impact evaluation.
Kayes, Koulikoro, Segou and Sikasso are the four regions implementing the European Union-funded project UE-APSAN-Mali (‘Enhancing crop productivity and climate resilience for Food and Nutrition Security in Mali). The training workshop was organized from 28–29 September 2021 at ICRISAT regional hub in Mali.
A total of 45 people registered and participated to the event, including 17 radios producers and broadcasters.
Reported by Agathe Diama,
Head, Regional Information, ICRISAT – WCA
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