Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2008
The Smallholders Foundation


This profile was prepared when Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Nnaemeka has developed a sustainable community owned and managed radio through which farmers can share knowledge with each other. While community radio has flourished throughout the West African sub-region, Nigeria has not yet been able to leverage the potential here and propel development. Until now. Nnaemeka’s new radio program engages listeners and tackles an important problem: Agricultural productivity has steadily declined in the decades since the discovery and exploitation of major oil reserves. Targeting smallholder farmers, Nnaemeka empowers them by giving them a voice and ownership in the project, validating their indigenous knowledge, and providing fast access to markets and thus eliminating middle men.

Nnaemeka also disseminates important environmental information, highlighting the importance of protecting nature and its close link to agricultural productivity. He does all this through rural farmers’ listening clubs. Clubs gather around the radio, listen to Nnaemeka’s programs and record their discussions, later airing these for other listeners. They also leave questions for experts using voice mail when necessary. In order to ensure sustainability the community radios charge a small fee for community announcements such births and obituaries, and use solar power to reduce operational costs and dependence on the unreliable national power grid. The radio is directed and managed by a board comprised of the community stakeholders.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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