Farmer field listening groups set up in Ghana

re-posted from UPGro BRAVE project

In February, the Lorna Young Foundation, CARE International, Ura Radio presenters from Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and the BRAVE team travelled to Jawani in East Mamprusi district and Tariganga in Garu Tempane to meet with the local Village Savings and Loans associations (VSLs) groups and to record the first programmes from the farmer field listening groups. They were joined there by project partners from Burkina Faso, Radio la Voix du Singue, Reseau MARP and the women leaders of the UGF.

The listening groups will help to develop radio outreach information for communities from drought-affected areas on four key issues:

  1. Improve Sustainable Land Management
  2. Improve Water Harvesting and conservation of resources
  3. Improve health and nutrition
  4. Improve yields and crop production

In Jawani, the group which is composed of 14 members (11 women and 3 men) has called its radio programmes “Pukpar’ ni Kom” in Mampruli ‘Farmer and Water’.

In Tariganga, the group has 10 members (4 women and 6 men) and every week they will meet to discuss what they have learnt and to compile the questions which they want to ask.

Every month, the farmer field listening groups will be meeting with radio presenters and local agricultural extension staff from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and specialists from  CARE International’s Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) to select the 5-6 key subjects developed in line with a seasonal and agricultural calendar. The subjects will be selected based on their relevance and on high-risk issues which communities feel need to be addressed in the coming month. The aim is to help the local communities prepare for the challenges related to climate and water in the coming months. Once a week, the group leaders will collect key learnings from the group and send any questions to the radio presenters, so that MoFA extension staff can provide timely support to the communities and help them to prepare for extreme weather shocks and potential emergencies in a timely manner.

For the month of March, the farmer field listening groups selected their programmes based on the seasonal calendar on key themes of water harvesting, livestock health, storage of foods and prevention of illness. The programmes that were recorded addressed issues that are faced by the community in their respective areas.

In Jawani, where charcoal production is rife and deforestation is a major issue, the radio group sung a song about deforestation and protecting the trees, their radio shows for March focused on land preparation (avoiding burning, ploughing techniques, proper use of agrochemicals, mulching and encouraging planting of shade trees to provide crop cover).

In Tariganga, the community asked about techniques for building water harvesting facilities, and to prevent contamination of rainwater and harvested water. A community water specialist Nicholas Fielmua, from the University for Development Studies from Wa provided advice on the selection of materials, cleaning of recipients and treatment of water.

Both communities chose focused on similar themes around water collection and livestock health ahead of the rain seasons which are due to arrive in May. Farmers were supported with expert advice from MoFA agricultural workers, who supervised the interviews to provide radio extension advice on these issues:

  • Construction and maintenance of rainwater harvesting facilities for farming activities and households for washing and vegetable production
  • Type of harvested water that can be used for dry season gardening, domestic and livestock watering
  • Safe use and handling of agrochemicals to prevent water contamination
  • Prevention of illness of livestock (routine vaccinations change when moving from dry to wet seasons and wet to dry seasons)
  • Housing for livestock: floor (dried leaves, sawdust to absorb rain/ urine) non-crowding and proper ventilation of livestock, roofing (local thatching also allows ventilation)
  • Food storage of vegetables for the wet season: the use of Neem leaves to repel insects and avoid infestations of foods. The use of Neem can help keep crops safe for various months during the rainy season.

Meanwhile, Reseau Marp from Burkina Faso was accompanied by the Director of the Radio station La Voix du Singuee, and Elie from the Union des Femmes.

We worked on translating the transcripts on sustainable land management, livelihoods and transferred the methodology. And we were able to put together the first radio show on Shea butter cultivation and production.

Radio frequency for URA FM



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