Wednesday is market day in the town of Fana, Mali. There’s a busy energy in the air as farmers, traders, and other villagers gather to buy, sell and talk. In the middle of it all is Fatogoma Sanago, program director at Radio Fanaka. He uses his digital audio recorder to capture the sounds of people bargaining and chickens clucking. Fatogoma uses these recordings, along with interviews and information about market prices, for his program Aw Ni Sugu, or “Thank you for being at the market.”
Farm Radio International has named Fatogoma the 2011 recipient of the George Atkins Communications Award. The award recognizes rural radio broadcasters for their outstanding contribution to food security and poverty reduction in low-income countries. Fatogoma is responsible for all programming on rural issues at Radio Fanaka. He is also a presenter.
Fatogoma began producing Aw Ni Sugu as part of Farm Radio International’s African Farm Radio Research Initiative. He says he loves hosting the program, which helps farmers connect to discuss market challenges and solutions. After each broadcast, he takes questions from listeners via phone calls and text messages. He is proud that this program has informed farmers about ways to earn more money at the market, for example, by vaccinating their chickens.
Fatogoma’s career in radio began in 1995, when he came to Fana to visit his grandmother. At the time, Fatogoma’s uncle worked for Radio Fanaka, and Fatogoma decided he wanted to learn everything about radio production. He accompanied radio hosts (and carried their bags) when they visited villages. In the studio, he followed technicians. One day, Fatogoma was hired as a technician’s assistant, and his career took off from there.
On hearing that he was the winner of the George Atkins Communications Award, Fatogoma said:
I am very happy to receive this prize. It gives me more strength to work more with farmers.
An article about Fatogoma Sanago’s George Atkins Communications Award win was featured in the Ontario Farmer: Broadcaster Brings Agricultural News to Rural Africa.