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Leaving no one behind: Radio initiative educates farmers; pastoralists and fisherfolk across Somalia


Thursday December 24, 2020

In September 2020, FAO launched a radio training initiative airing various episodes across eight Somali radio stations. The ongoing radio programmes are divided into different series with 30 episodes in total, offering information on good agricultural practices, livestock, fisheries and nutrition, and targeting farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk across Somalia.

“The majority of people in Somalia are farmers and pastoralists and radio is one of the best ways to reach them,” says Ahmed Abdulkadir Yarow – Ahmed Sadek, news editor of Radio Baidoa and one of the producers of the FAO radio programme. “Farmers and pastoralists are benefitting greatly from the radio initiative. They are being taught good farming practices, the importance of watering the farm twice a day, morning and evening, and how to prepare the soil and plant crops.”

Somalis listen avidly to local radio stations 

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Radio is one of the most far-reaching and popular tools of communication in Somalia. In light of the low literacy levels in rural areas, a medium such as radio enables farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk to listen to news, access information, stay up to date and learn new things. The format of the radio programme encourages listeners to actively participate, with anyone able to phone in to ask the FAO experts questions. 

“This radio initiative is the first of its kind,” says Ezana Kassa, FAO in Somalia Emergency Coordinator. “Each episode is aired twice a week, so listeners do not have to miss a segment. Farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk need to acquire information to cope with the many social, economic and environmental challenges they face. Using an interactive and participatory communication tool such as radio ensures that no one is left behind and progress is made towards achieving the sustainable development goals.”

“As radio producers, we handle the production of every episode. Several radio stations in Baidoa broadcast the programme,” says Ahmed Abdulkadir Yarow – Ahmed Sadek. “Our audience sends us positive feedback. The programme is played in restaurants and teashops, where farmers often meet to discuss topics of interest after a long day of working on their farms.”

Improved farming and fishing methods to strengthen production

As the country faces several threats including floods, the desert locust plague and the COVID 19 pandemic, it is important to FAO that it stays close to its beneficiaries and ready to re-think the way of working with them while keeping them abreast of any developments. 

“We learned that by making handmade channels to transmit water to the farm it is possible to use the land when there is scarcity of rain. There are so many things we benefit from by listening to this FAO radio programme,” says Mo’allain Ali Isack, a farmer based in Gooyale village, Baidoa.

“This radio programme is very important for us as we learn how to plant beans, maize and nuts as well as new planting techniques. We also learn about the distance needed between seeds when planting, among other things,” adds Isak Isak, a farmer also based in Gooyale village. “I think anyone who listens to this programme can become a farmer. I want to ask FAO to continue this programme.”

This Communication for Development (C4D) radio initiative has received generous financial support from France, Germany, Sweden, the United States of America, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Commission, and the World Bank. 

Each radio episode can also be listened to online via SoundCloud.



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