Alhassan Seidu Kayaba—winner of the George Atkins Communications Award for 2021

Alhassan Seidu Kayaba, against a background at his radio station: 99.3 Zaa.

Congratulations to Alhassan Seidu Kayaba of Zaa Radio in Tamale, northern Ghana, one of our three winners of the George Atkins Communications Award for 2021!

Alhassan has worked in radio for the past 16 years, and is currently the assistant manager at Zaa FM in Tamale, northern Ghana. After studying journalism, he started his broadcasting career as the host of a program that champions women in the cashew industry.

Alhassan is also a farmer. Part of his inspiration to become a broadcaster was the opportunity to be a voice for farmers and provide them with the opportunity to be heard.

Alhassan incorporates farmers’ voices into his programs by travelling to the field to record interviews and vox pops. Farmers can also call in to live programs to share their ideas and concerns. To entertain listeners, Alhassan’s farmer program features songs performed by the farmers themselves, and offers quizzes, awards, and gifts to loyal listeners.

Through his interactions with listeners and farmers, Alhassan has learned that, in his area, women have poor access to fertile land for agriculture. In response, Zaa Radio convened opinion leaders, religious leaders, and traditional rulers for discussions on women’s land rights and launched campaigns to raise awareness of the issue.

Alhassan reports that most women now have access to fertile land and are able to earn an income to support their household.

In 2012, Alhassan worked with Farm Radio International on a climate project, and was later involved in a Farm Radio project that promoted growing and consuming orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP). He says that his radio programs on OFSP had a great impact on women and children, improving family nutrition and increasing income.

Alhassan has also participated in Farm Radio trainings and e-courses, receives Farm Radio resources, and has taken part in online and WhatsApp discussions. The station manager says all these opportunities have enabled him to better incorporate gender in his programs, and give listeners the opportunity to speak and be heard, while keeping the program entertaining.

Listeners regularly call in to give feedback, and appreciate the program for its positive impact on their livelihoods. Others appreciate the opportunity to speak via vox pops and discussions, which makes them feel part of the program.

Alhassan Seidu Kayaba is one of three winners of the George Atkins Communications Award for 2021. The George Atkins Communications Award recognizes radio broadcasters for their excellence in serving their rural audience and commitment to Farm Radio International. This story was originally published on Barza Wire, Farm Radio International’s news wire for African farm broadcasters.

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