Rural radio and community media: empowering rural youth for resilient livelihoods and improved food security and nutrition
We would like to celebrate this year’s World Radio Day (13 February) by drawing attention to the role of radio and community media in the lives of rural people, with a particular focus on West Africa.
Radio is the most accessible means of information sharing among the poor especially in remote, marginal areas thanks to a low-cost and accessible infrastructure. Radio broadcasts have the advantage of being capable of easily conveying information in local languages, strengthening community values and sense of belonging. Local and community radios in particular are often open to content contributed by listeners and used for a variety of purposes such as knowledge sharing, social mobilisation and capacity-building. Further, the convergence of radio and other media, especially the internet and mobile phones, opens a wide variety of opportunities for novel approaches to development communication.
Knowing that sustainable development of poor and remote communities will not happen unless it is actively driven by individuals and groups within these communities, radio and other community media have a key role to play.
Rural communities in West Africa often are confronted with problems related to agriculture, food security and nutrition. Their resilience to shocks caused by natural or human events needs to be strengthened to sustain these communities in the long term. The involvement of young generations is also important to bring about innovation and improve livelihoods in these communities. However, often youth lack the opportunities for employment and for decent livelihoods in rural areas and do not perceive agriculture as a valuable option for their future (see summary of an FSN Forum survey on Youth and Agriculture).
If radio and community media are an effective way to bring change at the grassroots level and to help people express their views and call for solutions to their problems, we would like to explore how this these mediums can be strengthened to benefit resilience and food security and nutrition of West Africans.
We invite you to respond to one or more of the questions below and share examples on food and agriculture stories or programmes – either targeting youth or made by young radio makers- that you are hearing on the radio or that you think should be promoted.
Your inputs to this discussion will be used to prepare a brief that will draw attention to the specific contribution of radio and community media to food and nutrition security and resilience of rural communities in West Africa.
- In your experience, what's the role of community media and rural radio in promoting resilient rural livelihoods and improving food security and nutrition of communities in West Africa? Do you think that radio programming in West Africa engages young audiences on these topics?
- What kind of issues have to be raised through rural radio and community media when it comes to youth challenges in West Africa? What is the role of young radio broadcasters?
- How can positive rural radio experiences with regards to food and nutrition security and resilient livelihoods be scaled up and made sustainable? What capacities and enabling factors have to be put in place (e.g. policy frameworks)?
Please don’t hesitate to make your voice heard and to feature your favorite radio networks and programmes in this online discussion!
We look forward to a lively exchange!
Mauricio Rosales, FAO
Oumar Seck Ndiaye, AMARC-Africa
Facilitators of the discussion