We were recently asked by magazine ‘Radio User’ to tell their readers about how – and why – the LYF set up our ‘Farmer Radio’ projects; empowering Africa’s poorest smallholder farmers through the medium of community-based, participatory farmer radio programmes.

We hope that it raises the profile of our work amongst radio enthusiasts across the world; indeed, Chris Longden’s article was instantly spotted by well-known, British ‘autistic blogger’, http://www.stuartvallantine.co.uk/  who, along being a die-hard radio fan, has also worked for the LYF as a volunteer in the past!

We have been delighted to receive emails of support from the magazine’s readers and will contribute more updates on our exciting, new developments with Farmer Radio. We are currently looking for ‘LYF Ambassadors’ to help us in our endeavours – so keep on checking into this website if you are interested! But as always – PLEASE consider donating to the LYF and perhaps raising money on our behalf!

With thanks to Radio User magazine and Chris Longden for reproduction of this article.

Fancy being our Treasurer?


If you care about small charities that have a HUGE impact – then you might be interested in becoming the new financial lead for our Board of Trustees!

The Lorna Young Foundation is now looking to take the work of our charity to a new level; ‘open-sourcing’ all of our materials and experience from our African-based ‘Farmer Radio’ programme, so that all small farmers overseas and their supporting organisations can benefit from it – for free.

The Lorna Young Foundation is a charity that works to connect communities, enabling them to trade knowledge, products and ideas that will make their lives better. We do this by devising and running programmes that bring together the many disconnected societies that make up our World- both in the UK and internationally. We have a rich history, taking our name from fair trade pioneer Lorna Young who broke down doors to get Cafédirect into supermarkets.

Our work is based on a deep understanding of international trade justice issues. We have a long track record of solving supply chain challenges, and access to networks that can deliver expertise and support. Farmer Radio – one of our flagship programmes – uses radio and text messaging to reach millions of small-farmers in Africa (and, later Latin America and Asia) with the information they need in order to manage and market their crops effectively.

Our aim is to bring about change: change in the attitudes and systems that prevent communities across the globe from working together to improve their lives.

An exciting opportunity for a person with enthusiasm, vision and impressive relationshipbuilding skills, to support the overall work of the LYF as we scale-up our ground-breaking ‘open source’ Community Farmer Radio initiative to potential funders, supporters and delivery partners across the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Don’t be put off – if you just prefer to keep your contribution ‘books-based’ – we are not expecting our Treasurer to be hands-on project based (but we always welcome those who want to take things a step further, of course!)


Role Title:        Lorna Young Foundation – Treasurer

Direct Report:    Work closely with the Chair, Director and the Board of Trustees.

Background:         Finance, Strategy and Governance, Fundraising, Legal, Risk.

Role Summary

  • Monitor the financial standing of the charity and report to the Board and Director regarding cash-flow forecasting, income streams, outgoing expenses and the overarching strategic management of the LYF’s financial resources.
  • Oversee the LYF’s financial risk-management process and report financial health to the board of trustees at regular intervals.
  • Act as a counter signatory on cheques and applications to funders as required and ensure that annual accounts are submitted to all relevant regulators in a timely fashion.
  • Liaise with external auditors on financial issues and ensure that the LYF’s finances are responsibly managed.

Main Responsibilities

In relation to Finance

Budgeting and strategic financial planning

  • Ensure all strategic plans are financially appraised and budgets are aligned to both short-term and long-term objectives each year.
  • Oversee planning/budgeting processes in participation with the Board and constructively challenge them where required.
  • Suggest alternative scenarios while evaluating strategic plans as a part of the risk management process and as a part of performance and reporting scenarios.
  • Ensure transparency and accountability to improve resource allocation.

Management Reporting

  • Ensure a high standard of management accounting is maintained in order to safeguard assets.
  • Liaise with the Director, Finance Administrator and Trustees to prepare and produce management accounts regularly.

Statutory Financial Reporting

  • Board level liaison with external auditors on specific issues in the auditing process and related board representations.
  • Guide and advise fellow Trustees to formally approve the annual report and audited accounts.
  • Liaise with Finance Administrator to ensure that statutory annual returns are provided to the relevant authorities well in advance of deadlines.
  • Explain technicalities of accounts in plain language which is fully understood by the Trustees.

Reserves Policy

  • Develop reserves policy and safeguard the LYF’s finances.
  • Keep the board informed of free reserves position regularly and advise to cope with changing circumstances.

In relation to Governance

  • Lead the Board’s duty to ensure proper accounting records are kept, financial resources are controlled, invested and economically spent in line with governance, legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Advise on the financial implications of the LYF’s strategic plans and oversee the LYF’s financial risk-management process and any due diligence required by funding organisations and downstream partners
  • Lead on the development and implementation of financial reserves, cost management and investment policies.




  • Qualified accountant with demonstrated commercial awareness and knowledge.
  • Knowledge of charity SORP and impending changes.
  • Competent use of IT skills.
  • Proven ability to communicate and explain financial information to members of the Board and other stakeholders.
  • Analytical and evaluation skills, demonstrating good judgement.
  • Understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.
  • Reputation of delivering financial data to deadlines
  • Commitment to delivering services at best value cost; being mindful of environmental and other ethical impacts
  • Good communication and leadership skills


  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience of charity fundraising and finance practices.
  • Dedicated to the LYF’s cause and objectives and willing to act as our ambassador to external bodies, charities and companies.
  • Ability to direct the LYF towards any funding/ partner potentials in the not for profit and private sectors.
  • Skills and experience in one or more areas of non-executive governance and management e.g. strategic planning, business management, financial/accountancy, understanding of HR issues, experience of Trusts or other grant giving bodies particularly fundraising and legal knowledge.
  • A team-oriented approach to problem solving and to management.

Time Commitment

  • The Board meets at least 3 times a year face to face, and at least twice a year via Skype/video conference;    
  • Regular contact, at least monthly, with the Finance Administrator and Chair, either face to face or via Skype/telephone to review cash flow, financial position and to forward plan.


  • The LYF does not have a fixed head office and staff are home-based. Our trustees live around the UK, so face to face Board meetings are often held in a central location, accessible to all. To minimise costs, we make use of technology such as Google Docs, Skype, conference calls etc. to aid Board and Team communication.


  • None of the Trustees of the LYF are paid for their roles. Reasonable travel expenses however, can be claimed. All of our board, past and present, agree that the small amount of time from their life and their careers that they have given to the LYF has been incredibly rewarding on a personal and professional basis.

APPLICATION: Please send a covering letter outlining why you are interested in the position and why you feel you qualify.   Please also send an up to date CV. Both to be emailed to: projectmanager@lyf.org.uk

MORE INFO: On the work of the LYF can be found here, at our website. Or email Ian Agnew at projectmanager@lyf.org.uk (or text 07950 338889) to arrange a chance to have an informal chat.

DEADLINE – Fri 1 Feb 2019


Floods, Uganda and Radio

Hannah Davis, Farmer Radio Development Manager for the LYF has just got back from Kampala, Uganda where she represented the LYF for the launch of the NIMFRU project (National-scale Impact-based Forecasting of Flood Risk in Uganda).

Hannah with LYF’s partners in Uganda

Led by our partners, the University of Reading’s Walker Institute, this 16-month project aims to improve early warning systems in Uganda and to strengthen flood-prone communities by providing better access to information. Our contribution comes via the LYF’s proven Farmer Radio model, implemented through local NGO partner ECOTRUST in the pilot district of Katakwi, eastern region. Our radio programme content will promote good practice on flood prevention and adaptation for these remote communities.

As always, the radio side of the project will be developed with full participation of farmer listener groups and will combine science, livelihoods analysis and indigenous knowledge into key messages communicated by farmers for farmers on their local radio stations.

Unfortunately, climate change issues (flood, drought, landslides, hailstorms etc) now impact every sector of the Ugandan economy. Studies indicate that Uganda is already experiencing the negative impacts of climate variability; with flash floods, landslides and mudslides being increasingly common. Only last month, sudden intensive rainfall triggered a massive landslide in Bukalasi in eastern Uganda resulting in 46 fatalities and 33 injuries, destroying 186 households and affecting an estimated 1,116 people. Almost every district in the country is now subject to regular flooding, causing wide-spread disruption to people’s lives and livelihoods and destruction of houses and crops. The damage done to major infrastructures such as hospitals and sewage treatment units has the knock-on impact of endangering public health further.

Despite the establishment of a national response policy framework and institutions, current methods used to track and manage flood risk in Uganda are limited. The NIMFRU project brings together stakeholders from national and local government, NGOs, research institutions and advocacy networks. Together, we can pinpoint the exact vulnerabilities of communities – taking account of the different seasons, exposure to different types of flood threat and improving preparedness, communication and response. Katakwi was carefully selected as our pilot site due to its history of flood-related events. Between now and February 2020, the LYF will be working alongside our partners in the region, as together we test the new forecasting and response tools—including the all-important use of radio! After this, the partners will be delivering the evidence needed to scale up the project and to embed it within national policy and institutions.

Hannah Davis and Hannah Clark share the role of Farmer Radio Development Manager for the Lorna Young Foundation.


Lorna’s Biographical Honour & A Parliamentary Motion

Lorna Young

We were thrilled to be able to announce that the very person our Foundation was created in order to honour – Lorna Young – has been included in ‘The New Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women.’

Lorna lived in Eskdaleuir and went to Langholm Academy, transferring to Lockerbie Academy for her last couple of years of high school. Those who grew up with her, got to know one of the Britain’s leading pioneers in the fledgling fair trade movement; here was a Scottish lass destined to have a big impact on issues of justice in the world.

Lorna was instrumental in getting the first ever fairly traded products onto British supermarket shelves. And believe us, back in the materialistic-mad 1980s and 90s, this was no mean feat…

In order to get her foot in the door, Lorna relied on a unique combination of her own warmth and wit, blended with commercial savviness and topped off with a steely determination to see a fairer deal for the world’s poorest smallholder families. Lorna made it happen.

The adjectives ‘inspirational’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘driven’ are overused these days when it comes to organisations trying to sell a personality to the public. We have never tried to market Lorna’s name and sometimes we have wondered whether we have been singing her praises highly enough. But we have always believed that her outstanding achievements – both as a Scottish woman and as a citizen striving for commercial justice and trading fairness – would simply win through, on their own merits.

To top all of this off, we are also pleased to be able to tell you that Scottish MP, Joan McAlpine has propsed a Motion in the Scottish Parliament to recognise the life and work of Lorna. We are all deeply grateful for this – and to the other SNP MSPs and the Labour MSP who has also backed the Motion. The Motion itself is at the foot of this news item.

We are delighted that Lorna’s best friends Isabelle Gow, Iain Black and Lorna’s parents, family and that Lockerbie Academy continue to tell the world about her work and beliefs.

And we thank the authors – Elizabeth Ewan, Rose Pipes, Jane Rendall, Sian Reynolds and the team at Edinburgh University Press, along with Joan McAlpine MSP, for honouring Lorna – and through her name – recognising the importance of supporting all poverty stricken smallholder producers across the world.


Book available at EUP – to get a discount – use the code NEW30 before the end of December 2018: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-the-new-biographical-dictionary-of-scottish-women.html

Motion S5M-14630: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2018Hide Full Motion 

That the Parliament acknowledges the publication of The New Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women; understands that the recently revised edition lists an additional 180 women who have influenced the course of history; welcomes the inclusion among these of Dumfriesshire-born, Lorna Young, who was educated at Langholm and Lockerbie academies; notes that Lorna, who died aged 44 in 1996, was a pioneer of the fair trade movement in the UK; understands that she was motivated by a strong sense of social justice and joined Campaign Coffee Scotland, which was later rebranded Equal Exchange, in 1989 before becoming the sales director of Café Direct when it was founded in 1991; acknowledges that Lorna was instrumental in persuading major supermarkets to stock Café Direct’s products; believes that this helped to change the lives of farmers and growers in the developing world, allowing them to at last be able to get a fair price for their product; welcomes the work of Café Direct and the Lorna Young Foundation, which was founded in 2003, in continuing her work to help lift people in the developing world out of poverty and in supporting disadvantaged groups in the UK, and believes that this is a fitting legacy for Lorna.


LYF Ghana Farmer Radio Field Training

The LYF’s Cristina Talens recently travelled to Ghana, to record the first of our Farmer Radio programmes for the local communities with farmer field listening groups, set up to inform the radio content.
Cris was accompanied by representatives from CARE international in Tamale and Christian Aid based in Burkina Faso, along with the local radio presenters. Together they worked with farmer field listening groups to record the first radio programmes around farming, water, weather and health.

It will be up to the farmers to choose which of the programmes are most relevant to them to use at the relevant point of time in the agricultural calendar. This is so that the subjects remain relevant and are demand driven.

The subjects which they discussed were allocated seasonal schedules and the broad themes that they will be using, focus on Health, Sustainable Farming and Weather.

The subjects selected were:

– Burning vegetation – why to avoid this –  and the impact of slash and burn farming in the long term.

– Agrochemicals – why use, other options, what to spray and when and how to ensure personal protection

– How to retain healthy soil and moisture in the soil through the practices of conservation tillage, Contour ploughing and mulching

– The practice of crop rotation as a means to diversify and also increasing nutrients going into the ground

– How to harvest and store rice and other local crops such as maize and sorghum

 Keep watching for more updates and for exciting news on the progress of our work in Ghana!

Open-Sourcing with Two Hannahs

We’re pleased to announce the arrival of 2 new employees – Hannah Clark and Hannah Davis!

We were inundated with exceptionally high quality applicants for our post of ‘Farmer Radio Development Manager’. This proved to be a very popular post – attracting some fantastic people with excellent experience. So, we faced a tough time indeed in terms of making a decision. And we would like to thank every single person who applied; no one enjoys the process of jumping through so many hoops and we appreciate the time and work involved by our applicants.

But after they had experienced several gruelling interviews, we came to the conclusion that two of the candidates ticked every single box for us. And both wowed us with their previous experience and obvious passion for what we do. Interestingly, they share the same first name; (perhaps following a bit of an LYF tradition – what with our Cris Talens and Chris Longden). It also turned out that both candidates actually knew each other already – and at one point had even lived together! Those of you who have followed the birth and growth of the LYF will be aware that we are a small charity who adopts a rather unconventional approach to what we do. Our programme delivery and achievements are proof of the pudding that daring to do things a little bit differently can deliver huge dividends for the farmers that we support.

So, after lots of thought and discussion, we decided to widen the post in terms of hours available and offered the job to both Hannah C and to Hannah D.

Hannah D and Hannah C with Ian Agnew

The two Hannah’s will be taking the lead on our flagship ‘Open Source’ Community Farmer Radio initiative. This is no mean feat – and our new colleagues have needed to hit the ground running. You will shortly be hearing more from them, what they are working on and how you can help the LYF to develop this fantastic new programme, empowering smallholders in Africa.
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and on Facebook!

More on Open Source Community Farmer Radio
The Lorna Young Foundation is a charity that works to connect communities, enabling them to trade knowledge, products and ideas that will make their lives better. We do this by devising and running programmes that bring together the many disconnected societies that make up our World- both in the UK and internationally. We have a rich history, taking our name from fair trade pioneer Lorna Young who broke down doors to get Cafédirect into supermarkets.

Our work is based on a deep understanding of international trade justice issues. We have a long track record of solving supply chain challenges, and access to networks that can deliver expertise and support. Farmer Radio – one of our flagship programmes – uses radio and text messaging to reach millions of small-farmers in Africa (and, later Latin America and Asia) with the information they need to manage and market their crops effectively.

Our aim is to bring about change: change in the attitudes and systems that prevent communities across the globe from working together to improve their lives.

Our new ‘Open Source’ initiative will be a game-changer in empowering participatory farmer radio, which enables farmers to leverage more value out of supply chains and tackle challenges. To date, we have undertaken individual farmer radio projects across Africa, but we are now moving away from frontline delivery and are facilitating significant scale-up. We are making our Community Farmer Radio model available on an ‘open source’, free of charge basis to any organisation that can use it to build a better future for farmer communities in the developing world.

How YOU Can Help
Get in touch with us if you are able to offer support in the following ways:
• Offering funding and sponsorship to help us scale-up our ‘Open Source’ approach across African countries
• Suggesting partnership opportunities for the LYF (i.e. with businesses, institutions, governments, communities, NGOs)
• Giving support for business planning, communications materials, IT support for an online platform, technical roll-out, legal support for ‘Open Source’ approach

LYF To Open-Source its Farmer Radio Programmes

Over the last 8 years, our Farmer Radio projects have reached hundreds of thousands of small farmers across Africa. As a direct result, these farmers – and the supply chains they sell into – have seen measurable improvements in crop yield, quality and disease resistance. Farmers feel better able to deal with the effects of climate-change and to support their families to attend school and to feel more positive about farming as a livelihood choice rather than last option.

We now want to dramatically scale-up this work; and we believe that the most effective and sustainable way to do this is to Open -Source it – make it freely available as a package, to any group or organisation that wants to set up a Farmer radio project. We intend to create a toolkit of resources, materials, guides and support, based on our 8 years’ experience of successfully delivering Farmer Radio.

You can download our Farmer Radio prospectus here. It tells you more about Farmer Radio, our plans to Open-Source it, and help we are looking for to create and promote the take-up of the Open-source approach. We’d love to hear from you. Why not get in touch to chat about Open Source Farmer Radio.

The LYF launches Farmer Radio in Ghana

BRAVE: LYF radio extension project in Ghana and Burkina Faso is underway

In June 2017, the Lorna Young Foundation travelled to Ghana and Burkina Faso to launch BRAVE’s radio extension programme. The aim is to improve the resilience of farming communities to droughts and lack of access to good quality water. Ultimately this impacts on both their health and livelihoods, through their ability to grow food crops and keep livestock.

The aim of our radio extension programme is to provide training and information to farming communities in drought affected areas North of Tamale (Ghana) and in the region in and around Reo (Burkina). The training will target 4 key areas to improve resilience and adaptation of these communities going forward by:

  • improving access to ground water by promoting rain harvesting techniques, proper storage and conservation of water resources;
  • improving crop yields, by providing information on drought resistant and early maturing crops in line with agricultural calendars;
  • promoting sustainable land management practices which improve soil fertility and water retention on the farms, the use of organic pesticides and fertilisers as well as raising awareness on the impact of deforestation;
  • improving health and nutrition by promoting high value crops such as orange fleshed potatoes (rich in Vitamin A) ensuring garden crops can be dried and conserved for periods when hunger commonly occurs and also ensuring there is information on prevention and treatment of water related diseases such as cholera.

LYF Farmer Radio

LYF Farmer Radio Planning Workshop, Ghana

In Ghana, farmer representatives and agricultural extension staff from MOFA attended a two day workshop alongside CARE, IRC and radio partners from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation – the radio station Ura – to identify the key messages that would be delivered to farmers throughout the year. The programmes have been initially titled as  ‘FARMER AND THE WATER’[1]

In Burkina Faso, the process was started with 24 with representatives from the Union des Groupements Feminin a grassroot organisation operating across 4 key farmer communities, Christian Aid and the extension organisation Reseau Marp. The radio programme there will be organised with Radio Sangue across all 4 regions targeted by the BRAVE programme.

The groups came together and have made a first attempt to identify the key issues that farmers need more information on throughout the year.  We have scheduled these programmes into an agricultural calendar and these now need to be reviewed with farming communities.

In October, the LYF will return to provide further training on setting up farmer listening groups. These groups will help to develop content, communicate best practice and ensure that the programmes are aired at times which have the potential for highest impact.

  • [1] kpa’ad ne koum  in Kusaal (to be hosted for Tariganga and Akara by Kate for URA – GBC)
  • Pukpaana ni Kuom in Mampruli (To be hosted for Samini and  Jawani districts by Osman Masahudu for URA – GBC)


The LYF and Zakat

The Lorna Young Foundation – Supporting Muslim Farmers and Communities

The Abrahamic faiths have a long tradition of peaceful and respectful trading activities between them.  Each have their own rules and guidelines for fair methods of trading – both with people of their own faith, those of other faiths and those of no faith at all. Justice, compassion and a focus on honest work and enterprise are key components. Did you know, for example, that the Qu’ran has more written on the subject of trade and commerce, than any other subject?


Smallhold Farmers in Harar, Ethiopia

The largest portion of the world’s poor is the 800 million who live in rural areas. great distances from the nearest markets and basic social services. The majority of these people are ‘subsistence’ producers or farmers; barely able to make a living beyond feeding their families enough to stay alive.

Making enough money to be able to sell a crop, to be able to cultivate it and to sell it for a fair price so that they can access better health, education and housing is simply a dream for most of them.

Empowering these communities to be able to take control of their own destiny is the aim of the Lorna Young Foundation (LYF). Download our Farmer Radio Leaflet here.

Muslim supporters and volunteers of the LYF are keen to spread the word about this small but mighty UK based charity.  Unlike many of the other ‘household name’ charities, the LYF focuses entirely on helping poor communities both in the UK and overseas, to empower themselves by becoming effective, ethical entrepreneurs – whether this be in farming or other forums of business.

Not content with providing ‘a hand-up, rather than a hand-out’ however, the LYF also uses its programmes to bring together different communities and people of faith. Several years ago the charity set up the ground-breaking Oromo Oromo coffeeCoffee Company  – a Fairtrade coffee company which the LYF initiated to support Oromo refugees in Greater Manchester thereby promoting a working relationship between Muslim and Christian Oromo refugees, and with local people who are often exposed to extremist political views.

Then the charity set up ‘Not Just A Trading Company’ across the north of England –  helping young Pakistani, white and Afro-Carribean youth from deprived areas to work together to form their own ethical trading enterprise in partnership with supporting the products that come from developing countries.  The LYF has also worked to support Arab producers in Palestine/Israel and continues to develop new approaches to bring communities together in the name of ethical trade.

Christina Longden, Director for the LYF has also been a key driving force for our work to help poor Muslim communities both overseas and in the UK. You can find out more about Chris’ own personal passions to challenge negative perceptions of Muslims here.

The LYF is a very unusual, small charity. Based in Huddersfield, UK, the organisation has minimal overheads. No expensive offices or salaries and no feathering our own nests. We work to keep the vast majority of our funding with the people who need it the most and who can only dream of the privileges that we have.

See www.lyf.org.uk and www.njatc.co.uk and …

PLEASE consider donating zakat to The Lorna Young Foundation this year. You can download our Farmer Radio Appeal Leaflet here.

Community Groundwater Resources in Ghana and Burkina Faso

The LYF is working with Reading University to help communities identify sustainable groundwater resources in Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Over 500 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) depend upon groundwater supplies. Within a generation, that will rise still further, close on to a billion.

Groundwater that lies under rock, gravel, sand or silt can be extracted using wells and can help farming communities who are generally dependent on rain for crops and livelihoods, to access water when there is no rain. Groundwater resources are considered more resilient to climate variability and currently the volumes of this water being used are generally small compared with the average amount of rain in some parts of Africa.

So groundwater can provide an important water resource to help adapt to changing climate and land use. However, in areas of Sub-Saharan Africa where rocks store a relatively small amount of water, during extended periods of low rainfall, groundwater supplies can fail. For this reason – together with an absence of historical record-keeping of borehole levels – it is unclear whether the planned development of groundwater resources to meet increases in demand is feasible in every part of sub-Saharan Africa.

This month sees the launch of the BRAVE2 project with Reading University, (Building Understanding of Climate Variability into the Planning of Groundwater Supplies from Low Storage Aquifers) The aim of the initiative is to improve our knowledge of groundwater availability and management in Ghana and Burkina Faso. BRAVE

LYF has been tasked to work on the BRAVE project; engaging directly with rural smallholders in Bukina Faso as our local partners disseminate information that enables communities to use water in a sustainable way for future generations. The overarching aim of the project is to build the capacity of local people to manage groundwater (GW) resources in a sustainable and equitable manner, to build their livelihoods and to help 400,000 to become more resilient to drought, especially Ghanaian women and children.

LYF’s role in the dissemination campaign is to utilize our Farmer Radio approach – linking into Farm Radio International through AfClix, the Lorna Young Foundation, and Practical Action West Africa. The campaigns will aim to share the new evidence-based tools for water governance with local decision makers and regional policy makers.