Rural Communications

Podcasts can inform poor farmers

Lawrence D. Gudza

13 January 2010

 The podcasts are recorded by members of local communities Practical Action Southern Africa, Zimbabwe Podcasts are helping people progress from subsistence farming in Zimbabwe, says Practical Action researcher Lawrence Gudza. People in developing countries often lack information that could transform their economic circumstances. Those in remote parts of Africa, in particular, could benefit from knowledge that would help them move up from subsistence farming to become successful, commercial smallholders.

To do this, they need better, up-to-date information on agricultural production and management, such as how to identify, treat and control livestock diseases and how best to harvest, store and market their crops.

Some African countries, such as Zimbabwe, try to provide this information with agricultural extension services. But these are often under-resourced, uncoordinated and unsustainable. Subsistence farmers rarely receive information when and where they need it, or in a format and language that they understand.

… more WHAT



Editorial Comment from the Liberian Observer……


Let Community Radio Stations Operate Freely
Liberian Observer
By Anonymous
Created Nov 17 2009 – 1:50am

Running a community radio station in remote parts of this country is not an easy undertaking. For this reason, those who carry out the work of keeping the people abreast with current events in their communities deserve a lot of credit for their magnificent efforts. They should not even allow fire to stop them.

A recent report from River Gee County’s provisional capital of Fish Town that politicians were bent on meddling in the affairs of a community radio station there is not only regrettable but also unwelcome and disappointing. At a time when many Liberians have gained some consciousness about their rights in the society, it is high time certain people disengage themselves from misinformation. We join a female advocate in the county in urging the staff of the station to apply professional ethics and shun all attempts by individuals to meddle in the operations of the station.

Instead of trying to obstruct smooth operations at the station, local politicians of River Gee County should facilitate and support the independence of the radio station. The impediments to running private radio stations in Liberia are many. The economic environment is not favorable. We do not have a large commercial base to support a strong radio station, especially in rural areas. The advertising income is very low for a radio station to meet all its requirements, pay reasonable salaries and other expenses to keep the radio station going. One has to engage in calculus every day to meet the financial requirements of the moment. That is not easy. What is sad is that some of those in authority do not see this or simply do not care.

Community dwellers should be helping to make the environment more conducive for the running of radio stations rather than creating conditions that undermine the operations of such stations. It requires a lot of commitment and sacrifice of personal resources to run a radio station. The balance sheet of community radio stations is nothing to write home about. Even when some semblance of profit surfaces, it quickly disappears because it is ploughed back into meeting a chain of pending issues and challenges.

We know that media institutions in the past had encountered a myriad of legal impediments from past governments. That’s why any hint of interference or threat from a government official causes so much panic at media houses even now.

It must be made clear that people who run media houses are not cowards. It is only because authorities have arrogated unto themselves so much power that they feel they can cow the media into submission. They do this with the sole purpose of boosting their political stakes.

The River Gee community radio broadcasters are determined to operate in an atmosphere of freedom if a conducive environment is created. The citizens there owe a debt of gratitude to the broadcasters for the effort they are making to maintain the station. And that debt can be repaid not with cash but by ensuring that a conducive environment is put in place for the efficient, effective and orderly operations of the station. Like UNMIL and the International Alert, the local authority needs to milk the station with resources and not just remotely control it as they are doing. This is because they and the citizens are the beneficiaries and not the journalists alone.

We think that what the community radio broadcasters are doing is of great importance for the future of a country filled with people who are poor, hungry, traumatized and suffering.

It would actually be a relief if local authorities would subsidize a station that is rendering a public service, to which the politicians should make a contribution. It is therefore their collective duty to push the government to ensure that the station operates with objectivity and fairness and not try to impose more repressive, media-unfriendly policies.

Copyright 2009 Liberian Observer Online

Government/community radios sign agreement


Written by Robert J. Clarke, Jr.

Thursday, 03 September 2009

Government and community radio stations across the country have signed a ten thousand five hundred US Dollars agreement. The money according to government is for the community radio stations to help with the awareness of the poverty reduction strategy.

Information Minister Dr. Lawrence Bropleh who signed on behalf of government recounted the importance of the community radio stations in the absence of a rural communications network. Dr. Bropleh described the community radios as conduits through which government can get to the people across the country.

The community radio stations under the umbrella, the Association of Community Radios, were represented by their President William Quire. Mr. Quire thanked government for the initiative and promised the money would be used for its intended purpose.

Mr. Quire recommended that a slot be allotted to community radio stations whenever the President is making a trip in or out of the country.

The ALICO President said such arrangement would enable the community radios feel a part of the mainstream of the Liberian media.



We are looking for an editor for this category.  If you are interested, please contact J. C. Dealy at  Please include [UpCountry] in the subject line.  And thank you in advance for the interest.


Congratulations Star Radio.

Politics is always sensational for the listenership, but Star Radio seems to make time every week to discuss the rural issues that are so important.  We enjoy you Star Radio, keep up the good work!

Have you not heard? Check them out:


EarlyBird Foundation

The article below is an example of why we started Upcountry, Liberia’s Journal of Rural Life.  It is time for us to stand up and be counted…..


Liberia: Kparblee Cries Out For Development

The Informer (Monrovia)

Roland Perry 29 April 2009

Monrovia – Barely three years into the existence of the ruling had Unity Party led Government headed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, citizens of Kparblee District in Nimba County have complained of being “marginalized” by successive government including the UP.

The citizen said since the establishment of Nimba County in 1963, the district has received very little attention from government and has not been ably represented at the national Legislature, something they said, have impeded development activities in the district for many years. Speaking during a Kparblee District Development and Awareness program in Monrovia Sunday, an executive of the ruling UP – who cross over from the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) – Mr. Victor G. Barney said as the country enjoys total peace and stability, it was very prudent to create the necessary awareness to call government’s attention to the plight of his people.

He said for too long the people of Kparblee District have been isolated from the entire country and was now urging the Government of Liberia to pay keen attention to the many development needs in the district and other rural communities as being done in other areas in the country. Kparblee borders Grand Gedeh with Nimba. It is predominately occupied by Gios and Manos who Barney said is not benefiting from all the development activities, thereby leaving the people there with no stretch of road and other modern facilities to improve their lives. The program which was held Sunday at the Kailondo Hotel brought together cross sections of Kparblee district citizens including local chiefs, youth, civil society organizations as well as students groups from Nimba County.

Meanwhile Mr. Barney has denied report that he is eyeing the Representative post of Kparblee in the up-coming general and presidential elections in 2011. He said he has no intention to contest in 2011 but was speaking out to send a signal to those wanting to represent his people to do it with sincerity and exercise a high level of mutual respect for the people of the district and the county as a whole without any pre-condition.

Contact: (231)6 270 297/ (231)77 935 297; E-mail:

Copyright © 2009 The Informer.


China Boosts Liberian Radio
Radio World, VA

The Liberian government announced last month that the government of China has completed a renovation and expansion of Liberia Broadcasting System’s facilities.

Under the China–LBS Radio Project, the Chinese government has provided a new FM transmitter to boost the reach of LBS throughout the country. A second transmitter was also provided to relay English-language programming from China Radio International throughout Liberia.

China is assisting Liberia with several development and antipoverty initiatives, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the LBS improvements would help “inform Liberians of the progress taking place in the country.”

The cost of the radio project is estimated to be US$4 million.

LBS now has relay stations in six counties — Lofa, Bong, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Bomi and Maryland — which are fed from the capitol, Monrovia, via microwave and satellite links.

Under terms of an understanding between China and Liberia, the government of China will provide maintenance for the new LBS facilities for one year, after which China Radio International will contract a Chinese firm to provide maintenance for an additional four years.


Next Page »