Communication for Sustainable Development Initiative (CSDI)

Advancing participatory communication

Enabling community dialogue

Promoting gender equality

Raising farmer’s voice

 FAO ComDev and the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Territory in 2008 launched the Communication for Sustainable Development Initiative (CSDI). The CSDI initiative, established in Bangladesh, Bolivia, the Caribbean region and Congo, aims to strengthen communication strategies in order to improve resilience and adaptation to climate change, encourage a shift to sustainable natural resource management and reach food security. Furthermore, CSDI aims to strengthen the dialogue between local and regional actors, national governments and ultimately, the global population.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faces institutional constraints which hamper agricultural and forestry researches for development. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, CSDI supported the FAO project ‘Rehabilitation Programme of the National Agricultural and Forestry Research System’ (REAFOR) to design and implement a communication component in support of agricultural and forestry research and extension activities. The project was developed in collaboration with local rural radios, researchers, extension services, farmers, the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INERA) as well as the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development. The initiative intended to design and implement a communication strategy in order to support agricultural, forestry research and extension activities. The project was developed through rural radios stations as these are able to address specific community issues in local languages.

During the final workshop, three main priority areas were identified with stakeholders:

1) Training of technical staff and journalists on participatory communication appraisal in order to better understand the needs of farmers, as well as communication methodologies.

2) Improving broadcasting activities to ensure effective communication with rural populations.

3) Increasing the population’s knowledge regarding climate change and food security.

Following the CSDI’s successful experiences in pilot areas as well as at global level, CSDI and Openet Technologies S.p.A launched (2012) the initiative ‘Rural radio’ to support sustainable agricultural development in DRC. This initiative was part of the Satellite Way for Education Project funded by Openet and the European Space Agency (ESA): the main objective is to strengthen initiatives and preparedness interventions in the field of ComDev on climate change, food security and rural livelihoods. With the support of AMARC and thanks to Openet technical assistance, a number of rural radios have taken part in the initiative. Rural radios are one of the most widespread forms of media used in Congo and therefore can facilitate a community’s dialogue as well as knowledge-sharing on adaptation to climate change. At the same time, the project supported the creation of radio networks where people were able to share knowledge and experiences about the impact of climate change and food insecurity.

In order to reinforce knowledge sharing, the project provided intensive training to 57 journalists of ten different rural radios based on broadcasting capabilities, participatory methodologies and technical notions regarding climate change and food nutrition. Openet and CSDI project increased the technology capacity of rural radios involved by providing them with lap-tops, modems and satellite connection. Moreover, the project increased communication sustainability through solid partnerships such as the Mvuazi research centre of the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INERA), as well as the Institute of Information and Communication Sciences (IFASIC) of the University of Kinshasa.

The CSDI End-of-Project Stocktaking Exercise (2012) established that the project was successful in promoting international dialogue on community-based climate change adaptation as well as encouraging knowledge sharing on this specific issue. At the moment, the CSDI initiative is involved in the designing of the second phase of the project. Particularly in Congo, the CSDI aims to continue supporting the ten radios that participated in the project in order to produce and broadcast thematic programs on climate change and food security. Moreover, a further 20 rural radios will be identified in order to scale up activities.


For further information :

-Communication pour le développement et la diffusion des technologies agricoles et forestière au Bas-Congo

-Collaborative change: A communication framework for climate change adaptation and food security

-Changement collaboratifs : Un cadre de communication pour l’adaptation au changement climatique la sécurité alimentaire  


Video CSDI-Congo