At Farm Radio International, our work requires great partnerships to get great results. We partner with radio stations, key stakeholder groups, and knowledge experts to make informative and entertaining interactive radio programs. These programs share agricultural knowledge and amplify the voices of listeners so rural communities can be empowered in their own development.
We know radio is effective, and we have clear evidence that our models and approaches enable scale. For example, in Ghana, our Achieving Impact at Scale project worked with six radio stations, providing 2.7 million Ghanaians with access to the radio program. An estimated 486,000 listened and 161,000 practiced one of the recommendations made on air. Results like this raise two big questions for us: how does ICT enable us to scale development results? And how can we be sure these results will be sustainable long after our project ends?
We’re sure many organisations face the same questions. So to open this debate, FRI held an event to share our knowledge and insights from various projects which had the aim of scaling-up and sustaining ICT-enabled initiatives. We called it ‘Going Big for the Long-Term,’ and broadcast it as a webinar from our offices in February 2018. Participants from a variety of different organisations and backgrounds were invited to be part of the event, encouraging stimulating and thought-provoking discussion around the subject.
Participants discussed both the benefits and potential of using ICT for scale, and its challenges. ICT can increase reach and participation, and provide new opportunities for collaborative platforms. But there is a need to better integrate gender analysis in scaling up initiatives and a need for clearer evidence of the impact of ICTs on development outcomes. There is also the matter of addressing the digital divide: by using ICTs do we exclude the most vulnerable people in the community, those without access to mobile phones and other technology?
We know this is a debate that will continue. If you want to hear more of the discussion- don’t worry, we recorded the whole thing!
This blog post is part of our Partner Spotlight on Farm Radio International (FRI). Partners in GFAR like FRI are aware that rural communities often have little say in their own future and in directing support to create the innovations to get there. Yet farmers and social groups are experimenters, producers of knowledge and researchers in their own right, hence they need to be empowered to drive innovation processes. FRI has used radio for three decades as a tool for bringing information to people that other communication methods often cannot. Paired with other technologies, radio also allows an opportunity for two-way conversation, so that development practitioners can hear farmers’ knowledge, insights and concerns, and respond accordingly to them.
Multistakeholder actions that empower farmers to voice their own needs and know-how to drive innovation and improve their livelihoods, are part of GFAR’s Key Focus Area Empowering Farmers at the Center of Innovation.
GFAR Secretariat is turning the spotlight on the work and Collective Actions of Partners in GFAR who share in our mission to strengthen and transform agri-food research and innovation systems globally. Not a GFAR partner yet? Join now!