Reading about Farm Radio International for class, I was very impressed by the organization and became increasingly more impressed by the the effectivity of radio as an ICT4D. This led me to explore their websiteo to learn more specifics about their mission and projects. FRI incorporates into its mission eight core values: equitable development, community self-reliance, sharing knowledge, use of media, partnership, integrity and solidarity, environmental sustainability, and international solidarity.
Of these, environmental sustainability stuck out to me as an area of particular interest. FRI says that “We support practices, policies and technologies that promote sustainable and equitable development. We promote the conservation of natural resources and bio-diversity for the benefit of all.” I never really thought of radio as a way to support environmental sustainability but from reading about FRI, it makes perfect sense. Even in the US, there are so many misconceptions about climate change and how to live sustainably so it makes senses that rural communities in developing countries would have the same information gap, even more so in areas that don’t have access to electricity or internet. Many development agencies spend a lot of time and money bringing more sustainable agriculture techniques to rural areas but delivering up to date environmental and agricultural information to these communities through radio could possibly be a much more cost effective and sustainable since it doesn’t require the constant presence of a development agency.
FRI recognizes that climate change is a huge threat to farmers and food security because of erratic rainfall patterns, flooding, drought, extreme weather events, deforestation, and desertification. FRI seeks to help farmers mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change by providing by providing them with information on agricultural techniques that conserve water, protect soil, produce crops in drier conditions, and quickly adapt to rapidly changing and quite unpredictable weather patterns. In Ghana, for example, FRI is working with a radio station to produce programing on climate change in two local languages. This program also uses SMS reminders and interactive voice response to improve listenership.
In general, mitigating climate change requires international solidarity, equitable development, and the spread of accurate knowledge. This is all part of FRI’s core values and it seems that their radio shows could have a big impact on how farmers adapt to climate change. Unfortunately, climate change is going to disproportionately affect small farmers, who emit little, so providing these farmers with up to date information is incredibly important to reduce the level that they will suffer.