Radio Farm Forum in Zambia : a participatory approach in Muswishi-Chibombo district

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Kalimbwe, George
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The practical attachment was held in Muswishi, about 20 km east of Kabwe town. The attachment lasted four months from June to October. Muswishi is a farming area found in Chibombo district of Central Zambia. The area has a population of 5,000 inhabitants with the Lenjes being the indigenous people. Other tribes such as the Tongas, Bembas, Swakas are also found in the area. Agriculture forms the livelihood of the people of Muswishi. The area lies in a high potential agricultural area, though little production takes place. Some of the reasons advanced by the people of the area, are poor agricultural policies by government that hinder agricultural development. Some of these poor policies include, inadequate credit for farm inputs and crop marketing facilities. In view of the above, Farm-level Apphed Research Methods for East and Southern Africa (FARMESA), a SIDA funded programme started a project using participatory approaches in a bid to improve the living standards of the people of Muswishi. Among these projects was the Communication Support for Technology Development and Transfer in Muswishi and Lusitu (Lusitu is in Siavonga district in Southern Province). In Muswishi, the project started by establishing a Communication Committee comprising stakeholders in the area, that was responsible for dissemination of developmental information. The committee used a newsletter and participatory radio as its information dissemination media. Of interest to this student was the participatory radio as a means of bringing about development in Muswishi. This student worked with the communication committee in establishing two radio listening groups which were Muswishi Central and Chipaba. Each of these groups consisted of 20 members that listened to audio recorded programmes. The recordings were done by the members of the communication committee where three quarters were local farmers. Normally, the committee did the recordings from among the farmers themselves. Therefore, this medium provided the people of Muswishi an opportunity to talk to themselves on matters that affect them. Project evaluation was not done due to time constraints, however, this student was convinced that participatory communication was key in rural development. Rural people know their problems better, therefore, they are the ones that can find possible solutions to them.
Communication -- Zambia , Communication in agriculture -- Mushwishi -- Zambia , Communication in community development -- Mushwishi -- Zambia