Photos by Maartje Houbrechts (FAO)
Sorry for that: you missed a very interesting talk show this morning!
The chat show or talk show methodology was really appropriate for providing the audience with different angles on the issue that was being discussed and for sharing information and experiences in a non-conventional but attractive way. I must admit that we had great speakers today and this surely contributed to the success of the presentation: Eliane Najros, Coordinator of the FAO-Dimitra Project and Projet Manager in the Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division (FAO); Ali Abdoulaye, Dimitra’s partner in the Sahel and Coordinator of the ONG-VIE Kande Nibayra and Yannick De Mol from the Dimitra Project in Dakar, Senegal.
Then, it does not happen every day to be able to share ideas with people who strongly believe in what they do and who understands the importance of using real-life examples to illustrate the results and impact of development activities. No theory here, only practice. In such a way, the participants in the session had the opportunity to learn about how the Community Listeners’ Clubs work in two African countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some 8500 people (50% of women) in South-Kivu and Katanga have become members of these clubs and in Niger where there are currently over 8000 members (75% are women).
The clubs are true citizens’ groups (of men, of women or mixed) whose members share their concerns and needs and who discuss these within their own club and with other clubs, get access to information and, more importantly, take constructive action together. In this process, community radio is used as an information medium and a communication relay that facilitates setting up flows of information and communication. To listen to the radio programmes and to their own and others’ interventions, the clubs use solar-powered and wind-up radio sets, sometimes together with the solar mobile phones. Ali Abdoulaye showed the participants one of these incredible radio sets. Blue, resistant, sixty turns of the handle and you have one hour of radio listening!
The speakers explained how the Community Listeners’ Clubs have proved to be an effective way for isolated rural communities, women in particular, to become involved in their own development, gain self-confidence, change their pratices. In this empowering process of social mobisation, food security is one of the main objectives.
To learn more about the Listeners’ Clubs: http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/am604e/am604e.pdf (in English) and http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/am604f/am604f00.htm (in French)