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Sharing Knowledge, Giving Voice

Winner of the inaugural Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio: Voice of Kigezi, Uganda

Voice of Kigezi, winner of the 2019 Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio

Voice of Kigezi, Uganda

On Saturday evenings at 6 p.m., if you tune to Voice of Kigezi on the airwaves in southwestern Uganda, you can hear a program called B’Omugaiga. This is a program about farming, perfect in a highland region where farming is the main industry.

But it’s not just farming advice that is discussed in this program. The production team also makes sure to touch on topics that are close to home for many of their listeners — and are major issues for at least half the population in their region: women.

Discussing topics like women’s limited participation in agriculture, how men can support women in their farming tasks, and how both men and women can make farming a business, their goal is to provide a platform for small-scale farmers, “irrespective of their gender, to voice out their issues and get solutions.”

It’s because of that, and because of the innovative, entertaining formats they use, that we’re happy to announce that B’Omugaiga was chosen as the first winner of the Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio.

B’Omugaiga succeeds in doing this by using many different formats to incorporate women’s voices: panel discussions, field interviews, and studio interviews.

Honouring Liz Hughes

Named in memory of Farm Radio International’s former board member and journalist Liz Hughes, this new award recognizes radio programs that address issues of gender equality and create opportunities to share voices of rural women.

“As a journalist and a leader, Liz was always motivated to do the best she could possibly do,” says Liz’s husband, Doug Rushton.

“People could sense that, and she always ended up encouraging and inspiring those who worked with her to give it their all, to achieve their goals, and know it. When she joined the board of Farm Radio International, she almost immediately realized that FRI was a great home for her energy and personality. She absolutely loved being a part of FRI. Our daughter Lauren, son Sam and grandson Max miss her deeply, and always will.  But we are so very happy that this award bears her name, and know that its purpose is such a perfect fit for what she, and Farm Radio International, stand for.”

B’Omugaiga succeeds in doing this by using many different formats to incorporate women’s voices: panel discussions, field interviews, and studio interviews.

Listen in

The program is produced by Brenda Murangi Mugwisagye and Kevin Tuheirwe, who wear several hats in the production of this weekly program, including producer, reporter, and host. Including a woman presenter on the show, they said, helped ensure that more gender-sensitive topics were discussed and inspired women to participate in the program by being interviewed.

“Recognition of my skills in reporting, production and presentation gives me confidence to carry on doing a great job serving my community and pursuing areas of gender equality and rights,” says Brenda, adding that she was “elated” to receive the award, this being her first award in broadcasting despite working 16 years in the field.

Amplifying the voices of women farmers

B’Omugaiga tackled topics like land ownership and control — the lack of which can hinder women’s ability to produce food to feed their families or to sell. Bringing in the voices of women farmers — who singled out capital as a key point of discussion — the program amplified their voices as they expressed their opinions on the topic, presented solutions and brought in experts who offered ideas.

And that’s only one example of how the program addresses gender. Through field visits and call in programs they encourage women to express their own ideas, and the program takes time to discuss how current events affect women. To ensure women call in, they announce call-in prizes will go to two women and two men, and they also try to find a gender balance in their interviews with both experts and farmers.

This is an excellent program that values women farmers and provides an opportunity to not only discuss issues affecting both women and men, but amplify women’s voices so that they are part of the conversation. We are proud to recognize it as the winner of the Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio.

40 applicants for inaugural Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio

“I congratulate all the applicants to the inaugural Liz Hughes Award, 2019, and in particular I congratulate the winner and runners up. We are happy to promote women in radio broadcasting in Africa and will share news about the winners widely in Canada. We are pleased our donors in Canada are eager to support excellence in radio broadcasting to rural communities, and especially to engage women farmers, in Africa,” says John van Mossel, Chair of Farm Radio’s Board of Directors.

It was one of 40 applications that we received from 13 countries. Within these applications were great examples of radio programs dedicated to women’s issues or that discuss women’s views as part of larger conversations.

Runners up for this year’s award include Radio Kiboga of Uganda, Radio Ouaké in Mali, Radio Arzèkè in Benin, and the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.

Honourable mentions also include Southern Radio and Television in Ethiopia and Mama Radio in DRC.

We’d also like to give a special thank you to our judges: Marcia Young, Jacqueline Toupin and Doug Rushton.

Stay tuned as we will be sharing more highlights from some of these shortlisted candidates.

Read more about FRI’s other recent work on women and gender: Scaling Her Voice on Air: New project will bring interactive radio to more than 2 million women farmers in West Africa