Year in Review

We support African broadcasters to provide radio services that share knowledge and amplify the voices of small-scale farmers, their families, and their communities.

This year, we served more than 640 radio partners in 39 countries with resources to help them improve their programming for farmers. And we worked directly with 118 broadcasting partners on 35 impact projects in 9 countries supported by 32 funders to bring positive change to rural communities. Here are some of the highlights of our biggest year yet.

A Welcome Message

From the Executive Director and Chair of the Board

Farm Radio International was founded by George Atkins, a leading CBC farm radio broadcaster, after he realized that agricultural radio in Africa wasn’t serving its listeners: small-scale, family farmers. He had met a number of African broadcasters who told him that their broadcasts shared information about large-scale, commercial farming because that’s the type of information they had access to. George had a plan to change that and, in the late 1970s, he put it into action.

Since 1979, Farm Radio has been providing radio broadcasters with practical information about productive and sustainable farming practices, nutrition, and health for them to share with small-scale farmers. These resources help broadcasters produce radio programs that truly address the day-to-day information needs of listeners in rural communities.

Over the years, we have learned more about radio and the needs of small-scale farmers. We discovered that the power of agricultural radio is greatest when it goes beyond sharing information and features the voices of women and men farmers themselves letting them share their experiences, questions, feedback, and opinions. Thankfully, the advent of affordable mobile phones and other new technologies have made interactivity among broadcasters, listeners, and decision makers possible in ways that George could only have dreamed of in the early years of Farm Radio.

Today, we put more focus on broadcaster training, emphasizing the skills needed for participatory, farmer-centred radio programs. We are creating new types of services and resources for more than 640 radio partners in Africa, including “broadcaster how to” guides, online training courses, and issue backgrounders. Our team at The Hangar, our radio and ICT innovation lab in Tanzania, is focused on finding new ways to use mobile phones and computers to make radio more accessible, dynamic, and interactive. And we work directly with partner radio stations to design high-quality farm radio programs with measurable results.

In the 2015-16 year, we continued this work, with 35 impact projects in 9 countries supported by 32 different funders and involving 118 of our broadcasting partners. The results and cost-effectiveness of our work is prompting more and more organizations to collaborate with us — organizations that want to use radio to create positive change.

This annual report shares stories that illustrate how interactive radio is helping farmers and rural communities to:

  • maintain or increase food production in the face of an unstable climate.
  • survive extreme weather events like drought.
  • grow more nutritious crops to help keep their children healthy.
  • overcome stereotypes and stigmas that can get in the way of good health.
  • challenge traditional gender roles and help women and men work together as a team.
  • give voice to those who are often heard from the least.

To recognize and celebrate the power of radio to create change, we did a couple of special things this past year. We launched a new website, Radio4Change, to share the stories of people whose lives have improved because of radio. And we ran a World Radio Day webcast called Boom Box to explore how the world of radio is changing, and how radio is changing the world.

We thank all who contributed to our work over the last year. Together, we are moving towards our vision of a world where the work of African farm families brings prosperity and food security to themselves, their communities, and their countries.

Kevin Perkins | Executive Director

Doug Ward | Chair of the Board of Directors

Welcome to This Year’s Annual Report

Radio for Change


Challenging health-related stigmas, myths, and taboos


Helping families put healthier food on the table


Amplifying farmers’ voices through interactive radio


Breaking down gender roles and improving food security


Helping Ethiopian farmers survive drought


Helping farmers adapt to a changing climate



of Directors

Doug Ward


Retired radio producer, station manager and vice-president, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

Charles Marful


Director, Human Resources Assurance Practice, Ernst & Young LLP

Nancy Brown

Andison (Treasurer)

Former partner and current consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP



Vice-president, Hill+Knowlton Strategies



Civil society consultant (organizational planning, citizen engagement, and public policy)



Retired executive, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, and author


E. Hudson

Professor of communications policy, Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage



Retired CBC journalist and broadcaster



Associate publisher and editorial director, Farm Business Communications



Lecturer and research associate, McGill University


B. Powell

Freelance writer, communications consultant, and retired CBC farm broadcaster



Journalist and broadcaster



Media and communications consultant and former CBC broadcaster


van Mossel

Expert consultant at ICFI-Canada and independent climate change and development consultant



Farm Radio International is governed by a board of directors elected for three-year terms. On an annual basis we:

  • Review our strategic direction consistent with our vision, mission, and values.
  • Draft organizational and program policies as required for the consistent application of our vision, mission, and values.
  • Approve the year’s operating plan and budget, and sign off on the achievement of results from the implementation of the last year’s operating plan.
  • Review the performance of our executive director.
  • Hire and receive the report of the external auditor.

All directors participate in the work of one or two board-level committees. Some directors also volunteer their skills for specific tasks under the direction of our executive director.

Over the 2015-16 year, in addition to these general responsibilities, the board also:

  • Implemented a plan to gather third-party feedback about Farm Radio’s performance in Africa.
  • Established a procedure for assessing risk in prospective projects.
  • Established a delegation-of-authority procedure for approving projects.
  • Approved plans for a strategic study of our Resources for Broadcasters work.
  • Established a policy for a contingency reserve.
  • Revised our competencies/skills matrix for consideration in recruiting new directors.
  • Thanked retiring board members David Okidi and Bill Stunt, and welcomed new board members Jean Christie and Rick Gallop.



Doug Ward, Chair, Board of Directors



I am pleased to report that Farm Radio has achieved all its financial goals for the fiscal year ending March 2016. Our financial focus continues to be on:  

  • Strong controllership and risk management;
  • Prudent oversight and use of donors’ funds;
  • Manageable growth; and
  • Development of sufficient contingency reserves.

Our auditing firm, Deloitte, has provided an unqualified audit of our financial statements and raised no concerns with respect to our controls and accounting practices. This includes our controllership of both Canada- and Africa-based funds distribution and expense management.

As always at Farm Radio, we are determined to ensure the maximum amount of every dollar we receive from our donors is used directly to deliver programs. We spent less than five per cent of our budget on fundraising and public engagement and less than ten per cent on administration costs.  

Our organization continues to grow at a manageable rate which ensures that we maintain tight oversight and control of our operations. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, we achieved eight per cent growth over the previous year. This allowed us to expand our services programmatically and geographically without losing sight of our roots, core goals, purpose, and the importance of carefully managing our funds.  

Finally, as I reported last year, we have adopted a policy to establish a reasonable financial reserve to allow us to be prepared for urgent or unexpected situations that could otherwise destabilize the organization.  We are now well on track with this goal and this year’s small surplus (about 1.5 per cent of our total revenue) will contribute to the buildup of that reserve.

It is an honour to serve as Farm Radio’s treasurer and I assure you of my continued diligence in providing oversight to the most prudent use of your generous contributions to improving the lives of small-scale farmers across sub-Saharan Africa.


Nancy Brown Andison

Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Audit and Risk Committee

View full financial statement


George Atkins Communications Award

2016 Winners

Farm Radio International would not exist without the efforts of one exceptional Canadian farm broadcaster: our founder, the late George Atkins. Each year, we pay tribute to him and to outstanding African rural radio broadcasters through an award in his name. On the 25th anniversary of the award, we are pleased to recognize three broadcasters who work tirelessly to produce radio programs that serve farmers.

Avada Admin

Sarah Adongo

A broadcaster with Mega FM in Uganda, Sarah loves working with farmers because it reminds her of where she came from. Sarah’s parents were small-scale farmers and the proceeds from their farm paid for her higher education. She feels a personal responsibility to provide small-scale farmers with the information they need when they need it. Sarah also believes that farmers must be able to speak and be heard in order to improve their lives and the lives of their families. Sarah has been involved in three Farm Radio impact projects, including the My Children radio drama that encourages families to grow and eat vitamin-A-rich orange-fleshed sweet potato.

Avada Admin

Carole Leuwe

A journalist, at Radio Nostalgie in Cameroon, is committed to bringing farmers hope in the face of big challenges. This hope comes in the form of reliable information, whether it’s about how to grow tomatoes or how to use new online platforms to sell agricultural products. Highlights of her four years as a radio host include producing a show about raising chickens that received many requests for rebroadcast, as well as one focused on avoiding malaria. Carole has participated in several of Farm Radio’s online training courses as well as a face-to-face consultation about Barza, our online community for radio broadcasters.

Avada Admin

Gideon Sarkodie

Gideon has been a host and producer of ADARS FM’s morning and agricultural radio shows in Ghana for the past nine years. He often goes beyond his role as a broadcaster to advocate for rural communities. When he learned that one of his listening communities lost access to water after three wells were destroyed, he called on government officials to take action. His on-air advocacy continued until the wells in the community of Chiranda were reconstructed. Gideon earned top honours for his work in Farm Radio’s e-courses and regularly contributes to our online broadcaster discussion platforms. He recently became a Farm Radio broadcaster trainer, helping his peers at other stations better serve farmers.

Congratulations also go to this year’s runners-up: Soumaïla Gado of Radio Dar Es Salam in Niger, Privat Tiburce Martin Massanga of Radio MUCODEC in Congo, and Winnie Onyimbo of Trans World Radio Kenya.



We gratefully acknowledge the support and partnership of the many individuals, groups, foundations, and businesses who help make Farm Radio International’s work possible. Tens of millions of small-scale farmers and their families benefited this year as a result of the dedication and generosity of our friends and supporters.

Africa Rice Center
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
Canadian Commission for UNESCO
Canadian Feed the Children
Catholic Relief Services
Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI)
CGIAR (Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security)
Commonwealth of Learning
Digital Green
Farm Radio Trust Malawi
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Global Affairs Canada
Grameen Foundation
Grand Challenges Canada
International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)
International Food Policy Research Institute
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
International Potato Center (CIP)
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Institute of Development Studies
Irish Aid
McCain Foundation
The McLean Foundation
Nathan Associates London LTD
Save the Children
Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada
UK Aid
Unifor Canada
University of Saskatchewan
World Association of Christian Communication
World Food Program
  • Anne Burnett
  • S.M. Blair Family Foundation
  • Burgetz Family Foundation held at the Mennonite Foundation of Canada
  • Robert I. and Margaret J. Clague Memorial Fund endowed with The Winnipeg Foundation
  • D. Keith MacDonald Foundation
  • David Frere
  • Beth Haddon and Tim Draimin
  • The Hope Social Justice Fund held at the Victoria Foundation
  • Hughraine Fund at the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation
  • James and Philippa Kerr Fund at the Strategic Charitable Giving Foundation
  • Marilyn & Wally King
  • Oscroft Limited
  • Beatrice Enid Patterson Foundation Fund at the Foundation of Greater Montreal
  • Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception
  • Les Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame
  • Janet & Herb Tanzer Charitable Fund at the Toronto Community Foundation
  • Laura Tiberti Foundation
  • Maurice Walsh

Farm Radio International’s Circle of Producers are dedicated donors who have each cumulatively donated $1,000 or more in support of our work. Their generous donations and continued support make our work possible. This year, we are pleased to welcome the following donors as members of our Circle of Producers.

  • Myrna Barwin
  • Jeanette Bayduza
  • Donald Beaumont
  • Anne Beckwith
  • Rebecca Boal
  • Joan Bricker
  • Ruth Bryan
  • Sandra Corson
  • Norma Davies
  • Soula Dimitrey
  • David Edney
  • Marion Egerter
  • Sally Emmerson
  • Roberta Ferrence
  • Douglas Fish
  • Vera Froese
  • Harold Funk
  • James Girling
  • Mary Groh
  • Blair Hamilton
  • Colin Hardman
  • Elizabeth Harrison
  • Robert Haskett
  • Elizabeth Heinicke
  • Theo Hofmann
  • Geoff Hogarth
  • David Imrie
  • Max Jacquiard
  • Francis Lavigne
  • J. Le Clair
  • Margrith Loretz
  • Susan Lovejoy
  • Dorothy Martin
  • Marilyn McKim
  • Peter Meggs
  • Patricia & Dennis Mighton
  • Janice Miller
  • Susan Moger
  • Alan Moon
  • Raymond Moore
  • Marjorie Perkins
  • Franklin Pope
  • Joan Poulsen
  • Glenn Powell
  • Jane Robinson
  • Stuart Rogers
  • Heather Ross
  • Anne Roxburgh
  • Clare Scholtz
  • Ronald Shirtliff
  • Joan & Kinsey Smith
  • Margaret Taylor
  • Berry Tibbitt
  • Maryan Tisdale
  • The H.L. Turner Foundation
  • Theresa Van Der Goes
  • Jacob Vander Meulen
  • Anne Wade
  • John Webb
  • Anne Wieler
  • V. Williams
  • Catherine Wilson



We greatly appreciate the students and professionals who contributed their time, energy, and innovative ideas to our work in Canada and Africa over the last year. Thank you for helping make radio an agent of change in 2015-16!

  • Anesi Anyia
  • Anthony Anyia
  • Laura Angela Bagnetto
  • Andréanne Baribeau
  • David Barrie
  • Miriam Barrie
  • Susannah Cameron
  • Kaylee Chancellor-Madison
  • Piya Chattopadhyay
  • Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco
  • Jill Dempsey
  • Mark Elliot
  • Erin Flynn
  • Marina Giannitsos
  • Dick Gordon
  • David Gutnick
  • Sophia Hadzipetros
  • Marvin Hanke
  • Lauren Hill
  • John Jackson
  • Katie Jensen
  • Cynthia Kinch
  • Jocelyn King
  • Jesika Kravis
  • Franz KrugerLisa Laventure
  • Donna Leon
  • Michael Lubega
  • Nicola Luksic
  • Dick Miller
  • Richard Perry
  • Emilie Preston
  • Paddy Roberts
  • Doug Rushton
  • Clementina Sanchez
  • Sally Southey
  • Tara Sprickerhoff
  • Bill Stunt
  • Carolyn Thompson
  • Elspeth Tory
  • Kayla Wemp
  • Beth White
  • Jesse Winter
  • Ashley Wright
  • Lisa Xing
  • Norah Young
  • Eden Zenebe

On February 13, 2016, we hosted our first-ever webcast to celebrate World Radio Day. Called Boom Box, this livestreamed panel discussion explored change in the world of radio and how radio can be used to change the world. 

A big thank you to our event sponsors, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the McMillan Agency, as well as the National Campus and Community Radio Association and CHUO 89.1 FM for making Boom Box a reality and success. Special thanks also go to Bill Stunt for his role in production and to Nora Young and Piya Chattopadhyay of CBC Radio, Katie Jensen of the podcast CANADALAND, and our own Doug Ward for lending their voices to the panel.

Watch it Here

Connect With Us

Do you have questions or comments about our work? Get in touch! We look forward to hearing from you.

Farm Radio International

1404 Scott Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1Y 4M8  |  1-888-773-7717  |