Backgrounders are brief introductions to important and technical topics and Answers to frequently asked questions share key information on a topic.

Use this information to plan an episode or series of episodes on the topic, to prepare for an interview, or to answer questions from callers.

  • All
  • Agriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Children and youth
  • Climate change
  • Community development
  • Crop production
  • Energy
  • Environment and climate change
  • Gender equality
  • Health
  • Hygiene and sanitation
  • Land issues
  • Livestock and beekeeping
  • Marketing and market information
  • Nature-based Solutions
  • Nutrition
  • Post-harvest activities
  • Social issues
  • Soil health
  • Trees and agroforestry
  • Water management

FAQs on unpaid care

What is unpaid care work, and why is it important? Unpaid care work encompasses the supports and services individuals provide within households or communities without financial compensation. These include, for example, caregiving, household chores, emotional support, and fetching wood and water. It primarily involves tasks that benefit family members, but extends to aiding individuals beyond…

Unpaid care work

What is unpaid care work? Care work consists of activities “to meet the physical, psychological, and emotional needs of adults and children, old and young, frail and able-bodied. It includes direct caregiving activities related to caring for children, the elderly, people with illnesses, and people with disabilities, as well as indirect or domestic work such…

Positive and negative masculinity

Introduction In Mali, the Personal and Family Code states that women must obey their husbands. The husband is considered the head of the family and has parental authority. The same law allows polygamy and sets the marriage age at 18 for boys and 16 for girls. Yet the country’s constitution clearly states that all its…

Preventive livestock healthcare and veterinary paraprofessionals

Introduction In many countries across sub-Saharan Africa, it can be difficult for farmers to access animal health services. The overall number of veterinarians remains low, and they are more likely to be located in urban areas. Unfortunately, there are also many untrained persons or “quacks” offering services and many illegal veterinary drugs available on the…

Backgrounder and FAQs on puberty

Introduction Puberty is a period during which the human body changes from childhood to adulthood. The sexual organs and the body develop and/or change. The bodily changes observed during puberty are due to major hormonal changes. The endocrine glands, notably the ovaries and testes, produce sex hormones. This transformation can make girls and boys question…

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

Introduction Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. HIV targets and kills cells in your blood called “CD4+ cells*,” also known as “T cells*.” These cells help protect your body from disease. As the virus impairs or destroys the functioning of these immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient,…

Nature-based Solutions

Definition of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) Nature-based Solutions can be defined as “actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems in ways that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, to provide both human well-being and biodiversity benefits,” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). NbS targets major challenges such as…

Recommended breastfeeding and weaning practices

Introduction Breastfeeding Why is this topic important to listeners? To help listeners understand that breastfeeding is not a sign of poverty. To help listeners understand that breastmilk is free and appropriate for a baby’s needs. To help listeners understand that bottle-feeding often exposes young children to health problems (oral and pharyngeal infections, gastroenteritis, etc.), especially…

Impacts of COVID-19 on older people, persons with disabilities, and immuno-compromised persons

Introduction COVID-19 is a serious pandemic that needs urgent attention to check its advance and impact on people’s health, lifestyles, and economic status. Consequently, it is important to reach all sectors of society to raise awareness about this pandemic. Specific measures to prevent infection and transmission have been designed. These include wearing face masks, keeping…

Fertility, pregnancy, and COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa — How does COVID-19 affect women’s reproductive health?

Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic is a major health crisis caused by a virus that appeared in China in late 2019. In January 2020, this infectious disease began to spread to Europe and the Americas and eventually reached Africa, with Egypt announcing the continent’s first confirmed case on February 14, 2020. (1) Less than two weeks…