Audio postcard: Teaching new technologies may be tough at times, but always rewarding

Nathaniel Ofori is the information and communications technology (ICT) officer at Farm Radio International’s office in Ghana. This photo was taken during one of the rare moments when he is standing still. In his work for FRI,  he is normally running around fixing computers, making sure staff members have internet (which is no simple task) or travelling to partner radio stations to teach them how to use new technology, like tablet computers and FRI’s Telerivet-enabled “beep-to-vote” technology.

This is Nat describing his recent trip through the three northern regions (Northern Region, Upper West Region and Upper East Region) , where he visited radio stations in Tamale, Bolgatanga and Tumu. He sums up his field trip as “fun, but challenging.”

[Broadcasters] weren’t all comfortable with the tablet because it’s all touch and everything is virtual. So it took them a while before they were able to use it. But at the end of the day they were very, very happy.

For some of the radio stations, it was a two-day training. The second day, they decided to use the system — the tablet system — on the radio station. They said, ‘Okay, we want to use the system. Are you going to come?’

I was at the radio station the whole day. So, let’s say, if I got there early in the morning, say around 7:30 or 8, I would be there [as late as] 8 p.m. because I really enjoyed what I was doing. They really appreciated what we were giving to them, what we were teaching them.

We want technology to be part of the radio station because if technology is part we can reach out to a whole lot of people. So we are trying to come up with new, innovative ideas that can will help the farmers and the radio station as a whole. We want to help them,  on the field and at the radio station.”

Field trips like this one make for long days in order to make the most of time at each station and there are a lot of logistical issues such weak internet access and treacherous roads. But for Nat, it’s still all fun because he loves seeing how technology can help radio stations do things better and he’s happy to put in the time and effort when he sees how much broadcasters appreciate the help.

While Nat is often in the field training radio broadcasters, he too benefits from mentorship. To conclude his trip report, he shares his appreciation for FRI’s ICT and Radio Manager, Bart Sullivan. “One other thing I’d like to say is a really big thanks to Bart, who has taught me a whole lot of things and I like the support.”

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