Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Extends A Hand To FRI

By James Achanyi-Fontem, Cameroon
The Executive Director of Farm Radio International, Kervin Perkins, has informed its African Partner Organizations that Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will continue to give support to FRI work in 2011. This information was made known in the FRI Weekly Bulletin of February 2011
To break the news, Kervin Perkins said, 2011 is off to a great start, at a time FRI completed the 42-month African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI) and was already pulling together reports and spreading the news about what it learned because of the research.
FRI director acknowledged that FRI gathered compelling evidence, for the first time, that participatory radio works and works well! This means that when radio programs feature farmers' voices and perspectives and features practical, sustainable farming practices they are very widely listened to and have a measurable significant impact on farmers' knowledge and most importantly, their practices.
On the strength of these findings and the outstanding work of Farm Radio International's staff in Africa and Ottawa, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has offered a second grant to allow us FRI extend effective farm radio services to more farmers in more countries! The 92nd script package released in late December 2010, focuses on the very important issue of water integrity in Africa.
Farm Radio Weekly, is FRI electronic bulletin of news and information about small scale-farming for African radio broadcasters, and it passed the 1000 African subscriber mark in 2010. To strengthen its ability to serve these rural broadcasters even better, FRI have opened two small news bureaus in Africa - one in Malawi, and one in Burkina Faso. These bureaus are already generating original stories about farming issues for Farm Radio Weekly. Another exciting piece of news is that the 2010 winner of the George Atkins Communication Award, Grace Amito, will visit Canada in March 2011.
Grace is the producer and host of farm radio programs at Mega FM in Northern Uganda. During her travel to Canada, she will meet with and give presentations to friends of Farm Radio International in Ottawa, Toronto, Guelph and Montreal. Friends and donors to Farm Radio International will get hard facts about Africa and the work of FRI during the rounds. Brenda Jackson at is booking appointments on this eventful trip by our African colleague. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions on how to expand FRI work in Africa, please email Kervin Perkins through For more on Farm radio International work, click on its web site -

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