Closing the Distance with Digital Tools in Zambia

See how digital tools and radio outreach are transforming Zambia’s fisheries and aquaculture sector
Digital marketplace for fish in Madagascar

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Value add for readers

  • Gain insights into how digital tools, including radio and animation series, are transforming rural development in Zambia’s fisheries and aquaculture sector.
  • Discover how the Fish for Food Security in Zambia project successfully reaches remote populations and bridges the distance through innovative digital initiatives.
  • Explore how the Fish for Food Security in Zambia project’s use of online platforms and digital monitoring facilitates education, training, and data collection, adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charismatic radio-show host and amateur fisheries historian Londa Kunda speaking on air about the Fish for Food Security in Zambia radio show ⎮ Photo: Jason Mulikita © GIZ/F4F 

Radio technology is one of the oldest electronic communications tools, and it is as relevant today as it was a century ago. When it comes to rural development, the use of radio communications and other digital tools can substantially lower barriers to information flow.

The Fish for Food Security Project in Zambia has found innovative ways to include digital tools in education and training on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, to reach remote and widely distributed populations.

Adapting to the COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2020, the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic created the necessity for innovative tools to ensure project targets could be achieved, without exposing people to risk of infection.

A radio show in the Luapula and Eastern Provinces of Zambia helped ensure the flow of information about fisheries-, aquaculture-, health-, business- and nutrition-related topics, without the need for face-to-face interaction.

Advantages and Expansion of Radio-based Outreach

Even as the effects of the pandemic began to diminish in 2021 and 2022, several identified advantages lead to the continuation and expansion of radio-based outreach as a complement to traditional face-to-face training.

A wide range of experts and talk show participants could be linked in to the show from across the country, and radio proved an efficient way to more frequently reach out to the widely-distributed target group consisting of fishers, dam management committees, aquaculture farmers, fish marketers as well as inmates of correctional facilities.

Modern, solar-powered radios that could be pre-loaded with episodes via their digital memory cards were distributed to radio-listening groups.

Members of a dam management committee during a training on tablet-based catch assessment in Eastern Province, Zambia ⎮ Photo: Doubt Chibeya © GIZ/F4F 

The Listening Group Format

The listening group format allows groups of 10 to 30 participants from an interest group to come together and listen to the episodes at times that suit them, for example, after the morning’s work in the fields. There’re 98 groups across six districts in Luapula Province, and groups at each of ten dams in Eastern Province.

The 26 pre-loaded episodes and the recording functions of the radio allow this independence from broadcasting times. Groups have discussion sessions among each other, and peer learning is encouraged. Furthermore, the content and format of the radio shows are varied in order to keep it interesting and interactive. The show features testimonial interviews from the field coming from fish farmers, fisher folk, and fish traders.

A live quiz program and entertaining change drivers which included songs, poetry & drama were also initiatives that made the show vibrant while delivering important messages. In the first of two seasons, over 300 call-ins were recorded from listeners with questions, comments and requests for further information. Many subsequent episodes responded to this feedback and demand for topics.

The Fish for Food Security Project radio show is also available as podcast and even has a small following from around the world, particularly from Zambians in the diaspora!

Leveraging Digital Education Tools

The pandemic also accelerated the development of digital education tools around the world — and Zambia was no exception. Local animation studios had their digital artists produce the animated Let Me Tell You series in three languages.

In the cartoon series, topics of nutrition, food- and hand hygiene, aquaculture and fisheries management are covered in a fun and adventurous way that appeals to children and adults alike. The series has also been adapted to radio and comic-book format.

The work was a collaboration between the Fish for Food Security project and its sister project in the Agrifood Cluster, the Food and Nutrition Security: Enhanced Resilience (FANSER) project and their partners at the National Food and Nutrition Commission and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.

Furthermore, as the Fish for Food Security project supports the development of a national fisheries and aquaculture curriculum for trade schools, an online platform for distance learning is also being developed.

Incorporating Digital Monitoring Tools

Other ways the project is using digital approaches are by incorporating digital monitoring tools to help with data collection in the field for both aquaculture and fisheries management.

Project consultants and dam management committees have been trained to use tablets for monitoring purposes. Tablets are used to record catch assessment data such as the species and sizes of fish caught in each dam, the fishing gear being used, licenses issued and frequency of fishing.

In fish farming, this monitoring is conducted to stay up to date with stocking data (species, size of fish) and harvest data (species, size of fish, selling price, etc).

Sharing Experiences Through Digital Meeting Tools

Finally, digital meeting tools allow an efficient exchange of experience between projects. The Fish for Food Security project’s radio approaches drew on experiences from GIZ’s sustainable aquaculture project in Madagascar, and we in turn are passing on our lessons learned to the BMZ-funded ‘Fish4ACP’ project in the Lake Tanganyika sardine (kapenta) value chain in Zambia and Tanzania, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).


Eunice Namwizye, Junior Communications and Project Management Advisor, Fish for Food Security in Zambia Project (F4F),, mobile +260777229934

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