Communicating Research at Community LevelCase of Illustrated Banana Management Posters
Introduction: Why Communicate through Illustrated Print Materials? • It’s increasingly evident that knowledge and research dissemination through scholarly research reports for example, does not readily meet the information needs of rural smallholder farmers who make up the target audience of our research and information work. • Communicating through the Illustrated banana management poster builds on the work undertaken in our earlier publication “Soil Fertility Analysis and Agronomic Practices for Banana Enterprise Management in the Rwenzori Region” which identified the key priorities for deepening communication and strengthening the transfer of knowledge and experience between research and implementation.
Our Approach The audience of our information products is typically low literacy and rural based smallholder farmers. By appreciating this fact, we produce materials with their information needs in mind. We employ such techniques as: • Use of appropriate illustrations to define real life situations • Placing illustrations close to the related text • Use of short words and sentences • Use of active voice and conversational style • Use of examples that depict the practices of indigenous knowledge and practices, such as “Enguli” (Granary)
Partners: Information, Centres, Drama Groups & CPFs Local Drama Artist Radio Drama Series Illustrated Banana Posters Toll Free Line SMS Media Linkages The use of illustrated print materials is protracted by an ingenious creative blend of equally pro-farmer information dissemination channels. This is done for the purpose of providing choice for the diverse segments of our target audience. We have found out that a right mix of the above communication approaches appeals to our audience and are effective in delivering the whole message to farmers.
Radio Drama Series Local Drama Artist SMS Media Toll Free Line
Outcomes Community Food Security Consciousness and Action “I bumped into a radio program on an evening in February 2012. What I did not foresee was that the program I was tuning into would later make me an ardent listener of “Kyagwa Mwoha” radio program on VOT FM”. These are the words of Akora, a smallholder farmer in Isule Zone, Katebwa Sub County, Kabarole District. The radio program he talks about is the food security radio drama series program that runs on one of the local community radio that KRC uses to communicate agriculture information to rural farming households. During the radio program, Akora recalls, a toll free number was read out to the listeners to use to get more information about the program. The day after, he called on the toll free line and the receiver introduced herself as Maureen, an Information Desk Officer from KRC. Akora has had access to our information products and used these to mobilise over 73 members of his community including women, men and youth, to form a listeners’ club with an aim of collectively taking action on food security, production, and marketing in Isule community.
Lessons learned • Initially, we have produced our information products in two (2) translations of the three (3) major indigenous languages in the region. In order for us to achieve the broadest impact, we realise that we need to have all the translations of the major languages of our audience. • Across the Rwenzori region, there is an increasing geographical localisation of community radio. We do realise that for information to fully reach the grassroots, we will need to decentralise the dissemination mechanism to using radios in their localities. This will reinforce the linkages with the use of different communication tools.
Conclusion & Way forward Our passion is that through this experience, continued reflection and learning, sharing lessons learned from across the globe, for example, Shujaaz and M–Kilimo in neighbouring Kenya, we can take this work forward with greater hope of transforming livelihoods of many rural farming households.