Radio: A Force for Better Eating Habits?



Have you ever heard of nsima? If you lived in Malawi you would know it intimately. It is a thick porridge made from maize flour and is the mainstay of the African diet in that region. Meat, beans, fish and other foods are generally seen simply as side items, it is the nsima that is the main dish at all meals.

So what does that have to do with radio?

Via VOA News:

Mwana Alirenji, literally meaning a home of plenty, is a food security radio magazine program aimed at reducing household food shortages. Malawi Broadcasting Corporation airs the program, which covers a number of activities, including village festival campaigns. The Mwana Alirenji team encourages villagers to address the challenges they face in improving food production.

The radio program communicates a number of things, including encouraging listens to broaden their culinary options to include new items like sweet potatoes and cavassa. Dietary diversification is an important goal for this part of the world, and is one way of combating hunger.

In addition to promoting healthier eating habits, the program also provides hands on solutions to agricultural problems. They regularly bring in regional farmers who have overcome the problem du jour (insects, new ways of using manure, etc) and interview them in detail about what their solutions were.

At the moment, 78 villages in the region are within the broadcast area of the program, although funding is being sought to expand well beyond those boundaries. This is an excellent example of radio being used to strengthen community!

Photo courtesy of Khym54, used under its Creative Commons license


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