RAP Publication: 1999/8

A Radio Broadcasting Model for Rural Women and Farm Households


A Philippines Case Study on Distance Education

By: Fr. Francis B. Lucas

Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)

Bayanihan Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

The designations and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author alone and do not imply any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO.

ISBN: 974-86645-4-6

All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of purpose and extent of the reproduction should be addressed to the Director, Information Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00100, Rome, Italy.

Editorial support:

Dr. Revathi Balakrishnan, Regional Rural Sociologist
Women in Development Officer
Ms. Marlynne E. Hopper, Consultant

Cover credit:

Ms. Apinya Petcharat
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Bangkok, Thailand

For copies write to:

Regional Rural Sociologist and Women in Development Officer
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
39 Phra Atit Road
Bangkok 10200, Thailand

This paper was written for the “Expert Consultation on Distance Education Modality to Reach Women: Curricular Reorientation”, sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and convened at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP), Bangkok, Thailand from 25–28 March 1997.


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has made a strong commitment to support rural women to improve their living conditions and resource use capabilities. Since the beginning, FAO has focused on improving farmer's knowledge through extension approaches based on direct contact with farmers. Though these approaches have been successful, most often they have not been very effective in reaching rural women who are also farmers and rural producers in their own right. Among others, the prevalence of rural female illiteracy and time constraints faced by women, have hindered women's effective use of technology and training. Building on the lessons learnt, we should adopt a forward looking stance to improve the services to rural women taking advantage of emerging cost-effective models in education that reach a wider range of rural learners. The information technology and distance education modality should be utilised to serve the needs of rural learners, particularly women in agricultural and rural communities.

This publication presents a case study of a successful community-based radio programme in the Philippines. It sets out the fundamental principles of using radio as a communication tool to reach rural households including women, as well as the practical concerns related to the effective use of radio for distance education. This document was one of the resource papers presented at the Expert Consultation on “Distance Education Modality for Reaching Rural Women: Curricular Reorientation” which was organised by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in March 1997. We hope that the key information this case study presents for the practical application of distance education to reach rural households through radio will also be useful to improve technology communication among rural households, particularly in reaching rural women living in other countries in the Region.

Prem Nath
Assistant Director General
and Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office
for Asia and the Pacific

January 1999


This publication, entitled “A Radio Broadcasting Model for Rural Women and Farm Households”, describes the successful experience of a grassroots level organization in the Philippines. It documents the work of many who are interested in sharing knowledge with rural learners as a case study. We thank everyone in the chain of communications who has contributed to the success of the people-centred learning in the Bayanihan Broadcasting Corporation. The case study was prepared under a consultancy contract with the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific following its presentation as a resource paper at the “Expert Consultation on distance Education Modality to Reach Rural Women: Curricular Reorientation”.

The case study is developed from the field experience of a community-based radio broadcasting programme that has effectively reached rural households in the Philippines. Yet, careful attention is also paid to draw out the lessons learned in order to provide general guidelines in applying radio as media for effective distance education to reach rural learners. As such, it is hoped that these principles of community-based radio broadcasting could be useful to others interested in developing similar programmes elsewhere.

Women in Development Service
Sustainable Development Department Group (RAPS)
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Bangkok, Thailand

January 1999


This report examines the potential of using mass media to enhance the access of poor rural households and women to educational opportunities. It argues that, given the extent of rural poverty and illiteracy in Asia, it is not enough to simply rely on formal or mainstream education to reach the rural poor who have in the past generally been denied access to education and training opportunities.

In terms of sheer numbers, Asians represent the largest mass media consumers in the world. In this context, this report explores how mass media can be used to meet the enormous educational challenges facing Asia. It underlines the importance for mass media to create conditions and mechanisms whereby people have genuine access to media. More specifically, it explains how mass media, especially radio, can be used as a creative, practical and cost-efficient vehicle to bring education within reach of the rural poor, and to simultaneously promote the empowerment of women and strengthen community development.

The successful and innovative experience of the Bayanihan Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) in the municipality of Infanta, in Quezon Province in the Philippines is documented through a case study that describes the BBC's innovative community-based radio broadcasting model which has been effectively used to promote sustainable agriculture.

The case study defines community-based radio (CBR) broadcasting for distance education is defined as the planned and systematic use of electronic technology as a medium for projecting to a mass audience a mixed programme format and techniques in order to: i) facilitate the enhancement of mass learning; ii) provide a process of information dissemination; iii) establish a foundation for decision-making and value-formation; and iv) initiate behavioural transformation for social mobilisation. In addition, it illustrates how radio school goes beyond mere informational or prescriptive broadcasting to achieve specific pedagogical objectives through the systematic improvement of knowledge, consciousness and skills.

The BBC's experience with participatory community broadcasting in the Philippines enables a number of basic principles to be identified regarding community-based radio. These principles stress the necessity to: i) start where the people are; ii) ensure maximum participation of the people being served; iii) be sensitive to local contextual and cultural characteristics; iv) encourage creativity among the participants; and v) base programmes on real issues which are important locally. These principles provide useful guidelines for the design and implementation of similar CBR distance learning systems elsewhere.

The case study further demonstrates how community-based radio broadcasting should be for the people and, at the same time, of the people. The on-the-air school in Infanta illustrates how a two-way dialogue between rural dwellers and technical experts can be achieved, using a group learning approach, facilitators, linkage development, print media and other creative means to facilitate the sharing of experiences, problems and concerns through feedback and assignments, etc.

Based on the BBC's experience with an on-the-air school in the Philippines, the study develops a framework for a community-based radio distance learning system (CBR-DLS) which can serve as a helpful guide to assist with the planning and implementation of radio based distance learning programmes elsewhere. This framework discusses the fundamental importance of, and relationship between, the four main elements to be considered and integrated in community broadcasting. These four elements are: content; context; format; and process. Additionally, it identifies seven curricular considerations for preparing a CBR school. This seven point checklist discusses why a CBR school curriculum should: i) be needs-based; ii) cover practical behavioural objectives; iii) have economic or utilitarian significance; iv) consider resource availability; v) be research and experience based; vi) foster a holistic integration of subject matter; and vii) diffuse clear messages and concrete examples.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Bangkok, Thailand

Hyperlinks to non-FAO Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to non-FAO sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.

This electronic document has been scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) software. FAO declines all responsibility for any discrepancies that may exist between the present document and its original printed version.




Figure 1:   The Power of Radio as an Educational Tool
Figure 2:   Process Flow in Distance Education Programmes
Figure 3:   A Framework for a Community-based Radio Distance Learning System
Figure 4:   Community-based Radio (CBR) Broadcast Process Flow
Figure 5:   Broadcast Development Process of Community-based Radio in Programme Planning and Production


Table 1:   Mainstream and Formal Distance Education Versus Community-based Radio Distance Education


Box 1:   Assessment of Radio as a Medium to Facilitate Mass Education
Box 2:   Agriculture in the Municipality of Infanta
Box 3:   Experiences with Organic Farming in Infanta


1.   The Potential of Radio Broadcasting for Distance Education

1.1   Radio: A Window to the World
1.2   Renewing Hope in Farming and Life
1.3   Potential and Benefits of On-the-Air Learning
1.4   Empowerment through Education
1.5   A Case Study to Promote Distance Education Using Radio

2.   Mass Media in Asia

2.1   Types of Media in Asia
2.2   Media and Mass Education in Asia

3.   A Community-based Approach to Mass Media

3.1   Community Broadcasting

3.1.1   For the people
3.1.2   Of the People

3.2   Basic Principles in Community-based Radio (CBR)

4.   Distance Education through Radio Broadcasting: The BBC-DZJO Experience

4.1   The Birth of an Idea
4.2   The Radio School Methodology

4.2.1   The Group Learning Approach
4.2.2   Building Linkages
4.2.3   Printed Materials as Complementary Resource Materials

5.   Community-based Radio (CBR) for Distance Education: A Model

5.1   The BBC-DZJO Agricultural School On-the-Air
5.2   Educational Broadcasting
5.3   The Distance Education Programme in Infanta

5.3.1   Programme Clientele
5.3.2   Objectives of the Radio School Programme
5.3.3   Programme Flow
5.3.4   Programme Format
5.3.5   Programme Content
5.3.6   Team of Experts
5.3.7   Institutional Linkages
5.3.8   Strategies
5.3.9   Expected Impact

5.4   Results Achieved by the Radio School Programme (Season II, 1996)
5.5   Financial Resources Required to Implement On-the-Air Training

6.   A Framework for a Community-based Radio Distance Learning System

6.1   Content
6.2   Context
6.3   Format
6.4   Process
6.5   An Integrative Framework
6.6   Curricular Considerations
6.7   Components of a Community-based Radio Distance Learning System

7.   Conclusions and Recommendations

7.1   Comparing Community-based Radio Distance Education to Mainstream and Formal Distance Education
7.2   Harnessing Community-based Radio to Meet the Educational Needs of the Rural Poor

Annex 1:   Comparison of Media Ownership in Asia
Annex 2:   Sample Module for a Radio School Programme on Soil Conservation and Management
Annex 3:   Sample Curriculum for a Radio School Programme on “Introduction to the Soil - Plant - Atmosphere Continuum”
Annex 4:   Budget for a Radio School
Annex 5:   Sample Budgets for Classroom Teaching and Farmer Field Schools
Annex 6:   Comparative Cost of Community-based Radio School and other Learning Systems
Annex 7:   Matrix of a Three-tiered Distance Education Radio School
Annex 8:   Elements of a Proposal for a Radio School for Learners in Rural Households


ANGOCAsian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development
BBCBayanihan Broadcasting Corporation
CBOCommunity-based organization
CBRCommunity-based radio
CBR-DLSCommunity-based radio distance learning system
DTHDirect-to-home channel
EPMEcological pest management
FARMFarmer-centred Agricultural Resource Management Programme
FAOFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ICDAIInfanta Integrated Community Development Assistance Inc.
IPMIntegrated pest management
NGONon-governmental organization
PDAPPhilippine Development Assistance Program
PhilDHRRAPhilippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas
RAPFAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
SANESustainable Agriculture Network
UNDPUnited Nations Development Programme
UNFPAUnited Nations Population Fund
WRIWorld Resources Institute