Patricia Kasoki is a proactive, dynamic broadcaster at Radio communautaire et environnementale de Kanyabayonga (RCEKA-FM) in North Kivu, DRC, where she has worked for two years. This year, Ms. Kasoki is one of three winners of the George Atkins Communication Award.
Patricia is curious by nature and has a passion for working with local communities, which is what motivated her to begin broadcasting. She is also a self-proclaimed feminist activist. Before beginning her own programs, she was often invited by other stations to speak on air about gender equality and promote the rights of rural women.
Now Patricia runs her own program called Badilika (Change), which she created to give rural areas the media attention she feels they deserve. She says her listeners face many problems, including regional conflict and lack of access to land. As a result, farmers use protected park land—an area she says is under the control of armed groups—to cultivate their crops. Through Badilika, Patricia educates her listeners about local land ownership laws so they can influence policy and participate in decision-making about land development.
As a result of her program, Patricia says that many farmers no longer try to cultivate protected land and are calling for land reform in DRC. Others have been inspired to run in upcoming local elections, or elect their farmer peers to office.
Her program also addresses access to land and resources for marginalized groups and food sovereignty in an era of climate change.
To create the program, Patricia interviews farmers in their fields and shares their good practices. In addition, she includes vox pops and phone-ins, and reads listeners’ messages on air. Listeners who don’t have credit to call in leave a missed call on the radio’s phone lines, and Ms. Kasoki calls them back at the radio station’s expense. She also features experts who offer specific technical guidance, and incorporates music, spots, and theatre to keep the program line-up engaging.
As a complement to the program, Patricia created local listener groups. These groups include 30 people—a mixture of men, women, and youth of different ethnicities—who meet weekly to discuss the topic of a given episode and identify topics for upcoming episodes. The groups also act as Village Savings and Loan Associations, and are a source of vox pops for the program.
Badilika listeners tell Patricia that they love the program, and often ask for it to be extended beyond its regular 30 minutes. They congratulate the show for discussing relevant topics, and say that listener groups enable them to take ownership of the program.
Radio communautaire et environnementale de Kanyabayonga (RCEKA-FM) has been a Farm Radio partner since 2016. Patricia says that Farm Radio is like a school for her, and she uses Farm Radio resources to create each episode of her program.
This story was originally published in Barza Wire, Farm Radio International’s newswire for African farm broadcasters. The George Atkins Communications Award recognizes a radio broadcaster who serves their rural audience and is a committed partner of Farm Radio International.