Promoting social accountability through radio in Ghana
The Procurement Governance for Home Grown School Feeding (PG-HGSF) project disseminates information through various channels to communicate among and with stakeholders. Recently, the PG-HGSF Ghana team worked with a local radio station in the Sissala East district to advocate for improved social accountability within the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP). The team’s success using the radio to share information serves as an example of how to better connect communities.
During a district meeting in Sissala East, PG-HGSF and stakeholders discussed ways to increase the public’s knowledge of GSFP. They decided to organise a radio discussion programme to provide a platform for key school feeding actors to interact with community beneficiaries and the general public, thereby promoting better accountability and information flow.
Since mid-2013, eight radio discussion sessions have been held on RADFORD FM Tumu, which has over 65,000 listeners. The overall theme was ‘Promoting Farmer Access to the School Feeding Market through Information Sharing’. Each session was based on a different topic, lasted for an hour (40 minutes of uninterrupted discussion and 20 minutes of on-air phone calls from listeners) and was broadcast in both Sissali, the local language, and English. The programmes explained GSFP and how it could be a potential market for smallholder farmers. The radio programmes also outlined the responsibilities of all school feeding stakeholders. An average of about 10 listeners called in during each session.
Feedback about the radio programmes demonstrated that they helped increase stakeholder sensitisation, created better awareness of school feeding as a market for farmers, increased the willingness of farmers to sell to caterers on pre-agreed terms of payment and helped strengthen caterer-teacher relationships. Previously, these relationships were weak. Emmanuel Kudola, a district desk officer in Sissala East, found that “the radio discussions heightened awareness and support for the GSFP and reduced conflicts between caterers and other key stakeholders.”
Other feedback highlighted some shortcomings; the main one being the timing of the programmes. They were broadcast when schools were on break, and during a time of day when farmers were out in the fields. The best time for a radio programme to air is between 6 and 7 p.m., when farmers have returned from their fields and are able to listen to and participate in radio programmes.
The radio programmes on RADFORD FM were such a success that local stakeholders are organising airtime for a second instalment of the series. PG-HGSF hopes the lessons learnt will help generate other ideas on how best to disseminate information throughout Ghana, as well as Mali and Kenya.