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Prioritisation of information/communication needs for rural community radios' listeners

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Prioritisation of information/communication needs for rural community radios' listeners

The analysis in this document deals with the African countries. The background to the analysis is the implementation of an information system on the food security of the African people.

The purpose is to identify the information needs of the audiences in order to design appropriate radio programmes on food security. It pursues two aims: to improve knowledge of techniques to increase production and raise income levels, and to guarantee stability and enhanced levels of food security in terms of accessibility, availability and better quality of food resources.

The work was commissioned to the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).

The method used is based upon series of continent-wide questionnaires, with one questionnaire for each of forty countries. The survey sample comprised forty (40) countries out of a total of 53 African countries. Three criteria were laid down at the beginning, based on geography, language and socio/professional group. The latter, however, was not used in the end, out of a concern to guarantee homogenous sampling. It is this that justifies the two other criteria used.

Seventeen (17) themes were ranked, of which five (5) were chosen as priority themes after combining different methods of analysis, namely:

- nutrition,
- post-harvest management,
- water management,
- agricultural marketing,
- seed production.

The geographic criterion gave pride of place to West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa, while the language criterion regrouped them into two groups: French-speaking countries, and English and Portuguese-speaking countries. The sample comprises twenty (20) English-speaking countries, nineteen (19) French-speaking countries and one Portuguese-speaking country. The response from Central Africa and East Africa was poorly. This caused some concern about the methodology, and the zones were regrouped. West Africa and Central Africa were therefore put into one group and Southern Africa was placed with East Africa in the second geographic grouping.

The procedure was conducted in two stages:

- recording the number of favourable replies and the number of votes for each of the three themes deemed priorities out of the five chosen at the outset. This classification was based on the number of votes obtained using the two criteria representing the subtotal given in the annexed tables.

- lastly, a summary table was drawn up ranking the five themes, combining all the criteria, the zones, and the continental level.

The next table shows the results, while the following table sets out the 17 basic themes:

Summary table: Ranking of the 5 priority themes, according to the two criteria of geographic zone, and language, and continental level.

Table of basic themes: List of the 17 initial themes.


DETAILED RESULTS

At the continental level, there was a 15-point gap between the highest ranking and the lowest ranking theme.

Out of 40 questions, 93% responded in favour of the theme on nutrition at the continental level. For out of the 40 questions asked at the continental level, 37 responded in favour of nutrition, 36 post-harvest management equal with seed production, 34 water management equal with agricultural marketing. Bottom of the list came fisheries and information systems and mapping of food insecurity and vulnerability, for which there was only an average of 57% favourable replies (answers 24 and 22), which was a gap of 37% between it and nutrition, which was the top priority, as the following table shows:

Table 1: Ranking of needs at the continental level

For the English- and Portuguese-speaking African countries, post-harvest management and water management were given top priority, with 100% agreement on the 21 questions. These were followed by nutrition, agricultural marketing, gender and development, and lastly animal production and health, at 95%, namely, 20 out of the 21 questions asked. Food security and information systems, and fisheries, came bottom of the list at 76% and 62%, with 16 and 13 votes. The following table sets out the results:

Table 2: Ranking of themes in English-speaking and Portuguese-speaking Africa

French-speaking Africa put seed production at the top, with 95%, namely, 18 in favour out of 19. Nutrition was not far away, in second position, with only one vote fewer, namely, 17 out of 19, giving a percentage of 89%. Then came post-harvest management, equal in third place with agricultural marketing and the Special Programme on Food Security. This programme was understood better than WAICENT and the early warning system, which received 8 votes each, followed by the information and mapping system on vulnerability analysis, which received only 4 votes. This was 74% below the top-ranking subject. The results are set out in Table 3 below:

Table 3: Ranking of themes in French-speaking Africa

East Africa and Southern Africa placed water management and post-harvest management as their absolute priority (16 out of 16). Nutrition, the early warning system, animal production and health, agricultural marketing, forestry, gender and development, and biotechnology came second, not far from the first, with 94% in favour (15 out of 16 votes). The lowest priority was fisheries and 37%, at 7 votes, with a 56% gap with respect to the top priority, as table 4 shows.

Table 4: Ranking of themes in East/Southern Africa

Seed production was the top priority in West and Central Africa with 23 votes in favour out of 24, namely 96%. Nutrition came second with 22 votes or 92%. Agricultural marketing and post-harvest management came third, followed by water management, gender and development, animal production and health, and the Special Programme for Food Security with 19 votes. Bottom of the list came WAICENT, food insecurity and vulnerability, and last of all the early warning system which was 15 votes below the top priority, as the following table shows.

Table 5: Ranking of themes in West/Central Africa

Based on this series of results, the criteria were applied to summarise them and rank them, in order to classify the 5 priority themes both on a continental and a regional scale, and in terms of language groups.

Based on this summary table, it was possible to identify the main priorities extracted from the five highest priorities identified in each of these zones. Nutrition and post-harvest management information is a need expressed in all the zones analysed as belonging to the top five priorities as defined by the respondents. Water collection and management, and agricultural marketing were mentioned in 4 out of 5 zones, and seed production in 3 out of 5.

Table 6: Summary of the five themes ranked as the top priorities in each zone

 

AMARC

AMARC

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