Nodepage

Podcasting in Zimbabwe

Using technology to improve livelihoods

"Podcasting is very useful, it gives a set of instructions to people, the content doesn’t change so I can listen several times. I also get the lessons quickly unlike when I go to formal lessons which take longer. The content is consistent." - Sheba Majoka

Following on from the success with podcasting in Peru we took on a new challenge in Zimbabwe. Working to improve the livelihoods of people in a remote rural area in the northern region of Zimbabwe, where there is no electricity, no radio signal or mobile phone coverage, we have improved knowledge sharing in the local Shona language. Here you might come across farmers like Mrs Mashigaidze, immunizing her ox by following instructions on a podcast.

She is one of 11,000 people who have benefited from a trial by Practical Action, in which technology such as MP3 players, are extending traditional methods of distributing information. A more traditional method of information dissemination is through agricultural extentionists; local people who visit communities offering advice and information, but this is becoming increasingly difficult given the political situation in Zimbabwe. Practical Action has captured the knowledge of veterinary and agricultural experts, and put such knowledge onto MP3 devices using local languages.

The devices can record and replay any voice file. It could be a question and answer session or a five minute explanation on how to dehorn cattle or remove ticks. James, a livestock officer who has used the device says: “The lessons reflect the best advice available and are very practical. Many are ‘how to do’ step-by-step lessons farmers can follow”. Despite never having used computers or mobile phones, Zimbabweans have taken to the technology – so much so that they now want to record their own voices. There is much indigenous knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation and here is an opportunity to capture and disseminate it more widely. The MP3’s cost around £10, but the benefits of improved milk yields and reduced livestock deaths give a good potential return on investment.

By working with communities, new techniques can be embraced and knowledge shared. We must look further into the future; through multimedia formats, multilingual website and decentralized knowledge centres, where people will be able to share knowledge with those who need it most, while having major impacts on people’s quality of life..

Podcasting empowering Gwanda communities

Podcasting has enabled communities in rural Zimbabwe to access a wealth of knowledge resources, even in districts without electricity, or poor radio and mobile phone reception.

Read more

New Technology Challenging Poverty Leaflet about the programme, including a case study of podcasting in Zimbabwe. Read summary »

Evaluation Report
The podcasting project was implemented by Practical Action in partnership with Lower Guruve Development Association (LGDA). It was jointly funded by HIVOS and Practical Action. It successfully demonstrated the strategic advantage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in information deployment particularly in areas characterised by lack of access and low literacy . Read more»

Project Report
The podcasting project was implemented by Practical Action in partnership with Lower Guruve Development Association (LGDA). It was jointly funded by HIVOS and Practical Action. It successfully demonstrated the strategic advantage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in information deployment particularly in areas characterised by lack of access and low literacy . Read more» 

Local Voices Enhance Knowledge Uptake, EJISDC (2010) 40, 3, 1-12 Grimshaw & Gudza discuss the wider issues in relation to the research evidence.

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