While only a small percentage of Afghanistan’s land is suitable for cultivation, its economy largely depends on agriculture, with the majority of the population living and working in rural areas. Serious problems with drought have led to food shortages, affecting millions of citizens.
Working to mitigate water shortages and address other critical agricultural challenges, Equal Access is a key team member of the USAID-funded Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive Agriculture (AVIPA) program. Implementing a comprehensive information and public outreach campaign across 18 provinces, Equal Access is helping inform communities about best farming practices and take practical steps to improve their livelihoods and lives.
Through a weekly radio program and community listening groups, Equal Access is educating Afghan listeners on topics such as weed control, seed rate, crop rotation, and irrigation and chemical fertilizers. Each 30-minute radio program includes pre-recorded interviews with agricultural experts, followed by live questions from the audience and advice from Afghan experts.
Audience members are also engaged through SMS surveys and contests, introduced on the air and responded to by listeners via cell phone, with winners being interviewed or featured in follow-up programs. The show is wrapped up with conclusions and recommendations from the Ministry for Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL). The EA-organized listening groups gather in each province to hear the radio programs and discuss changes they can make at the local level. These groups also provide valuable feedback through structured dialogue between a trained facilitator and local farmers. This project is implemented with International Relief and Development (IRD).