The radio programme

US-GPC Saraya
Product focus: Cotton
Location: Saraya, Senegal
Type: Small scale producer – 1,200 farmers
Fairtrade certified since: 2009
Contact: Mady Kourou Danfakha – (French) / Veronique Verlinden – (English)

Radio is by far the only meaningful mass medium in Africa. As the road network is still overall poor, transport remains expensive, influencing the cost of other communication tools like newspapers. Moreover, radio is closely linked to the continent’s oral tradition. But how can a cooperative like US-GPC Saraya, located in the remote South-East of Senegal, make use of radio as a means to communicate to its members?

The goal of the radio project was to update and educate members of US-GPC Saraya on agricultural, health and cultural issues. As a first step, the cooperative approached the management of a popular, local radio station with the proposition to buy airtime. The station broadcasts to the entire Saraya district so outreach to all the cooperative’s members was guaranteed. Initially, the station manager was reluctant to accept the proposal, but after US-GPC Saraya’ General Manager Mady Kourou Danfakhae further explained the aim of the programme, the management agreed to allocate the cooperative with a one-hour slot twice per week. Mady Kourou Danfakha – who is also the programme’s presenter – broadcasts all types of information relevant to his members: updates on Fairtrade, best practical practices, health alerts, weather reports… Recently, Kourou devoted a radio item to his participation in the Fairtrade cotton Standards and Prices workshop in Mali; another time an informative session was broadcasted on how to correctly use malaria nets (the district of Saraya has one of the highest malaria prevalence rates in Senegal). To keep his audience engaged, Kourou uses different formats to package the information – plays, Q&As, phone-inswhereby listeners can air their comments live… Interactivity is a key component of the success of the programme.

US-GPC Saraya agreed to pay the radio station 150,000 CFA (or 325 USD) to rent one hour of airtime twice per week. The organisation used its Fairtrade Premium to cover this cost. As the station is located some distance from the coop’s headquarters, Kourou also spends 20,000 CFA (or 43 USD) on fuel weekly.

The popularity of the programme is very high and it is by far the best tool to reach a high percentage of US-GPC Saraya’s members. According to Kourou, the programme helps unite the members of the coop. Moreover, its outreach surpasses the borders of the cooperative. The radio station, which broadcasts in the whole district, has a potential to reach the estimated 42,000 Senegalese who live in Saraya. Not only are they educated on the impact of Fairtrade, they also benefit from the health and agricultural tips given by DJ Kourou from his radio studio.