Passionate, hardworking broadcasters are an essential part of our work, helping us reach millions of farmers with timely, relevant agricultural information. This year, three outstanding broadcasters were recognized with the George Atkins Communications Award.
The George Atkins Communications Award was established in 1991 to recognize rural radio broadcasters for their commitment and contribution to food security and poverty reduction in low-income countries. The award is named after Dr. George S. Atkins, the founder of Farm Radio International.
Our three award-winners were recognized with a celebration organized by our country offices. Each broadcaster has shown dedication to their farm radio show, and each was grateful for receiving their award.
“Farm Radio International has really helped me in my radio presentation,” said Victoria Dansoa Abankwa, an agricultural officer in the Central Region of Ghana who now hosts two radio programs on Radio Central. She has found radio to be a great way to share her expertise with farmers, producing a show called Akuafoa Kyefa (Farmers Bit) as well as a show specifically to discuss nutritious orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.
Victoria said she has benefited greatly from training by Farm Radio International. “Initially there were lots of lapses in my presentation. To go to the phone to take information, or others, these were things that I didn’t really know since I didn’t do anything in radio [before hosting]. I had a capacity-building training which has really helped me to improve on my radio presentation,” she said. (Learn more about how Victoria has benefited from our training programs.)
Gebrehiwot Tesfay, assistant editor of a farm radio show at Dimtsiwoyane Radio Station in Ethiopia, was also recognized with the George Atkins Communications award. “This award gives me great honor and encourages me to do more work on agriculture,” he said.
He is already a great role model as a broadcaster, incorporating live discussions and call-ins from farmers into his farm radio program. Each week listeners receive needed information and hear voices of other farmers.
The late Mfaume Zabibu Kikwato, a broadcaster and founder of a farm radio program on Mwambao FM in the Tanga Region of Tanzania, was the third award-winner. Known as Kikwato Junior by his listeners, he was an avid supporter of broadcasting the voices of women.
“He was nominated because of his passion, his spirit in promoting women’s voices,” said Susuma Msikula, FRI radio and training officer.
Kikwato Junior introduced a special phone line to encourage women to call-in to his radio show, which is part of the value chain project. As Susuma says, it was a great way to counter a culture where women do not participate in the media.
Kikwato Junior died on June 10, 2014, but his family attended the award ceremony to accept the George Atkins Communications Award on his behalf.
Watch the video to learn more about Victoria, Gebrehiwot and Mfaume.