I met Kojo Oppong, a producer and presenter of the agriculture program at Radio Peace in the Central Region (Ghana), at the national dissemination workshop hosted by Farm Radio International held on July 20, 2011. Mr. Oppong spoke candidly about having Radio Peace be a part of the African Rural Radio Program Analysis (ARRPA) research. He strongly encourages the idea of allowing others into the studio to witness the radio station’s inner workings as part of a learning process. The ARRPA research included visits to four radio stations in Ghana and went into the community to analyze the production process as well as how the listeners receive the work being done at the stations. Mr. Oppong was fascinated that the work he does within the radio station had been laid bare for others through the ARRPA research in an effort to promote education and information sharing.
Holding a dissemination workshop, he continued, provided many benefits, paving the way for positive change. Having learned a lot from the information shared, he feels everyone has acquired new skills that will improve the programs being broadcasted. Specifically, he feels
the use of music will greatly appeal to the listening audience, adding a bit of colour to the program, and the implementation of new formats to improve programming. Subsequent workshops will help further build the capacity of broadcast journalists as well as others involved in agricultural program production.
ARRPA was a study conducted by Farm Radio International that aimed to gather and analyze information about the smallholder farmer radio programs in five sub-Saharan African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, Malawi, and Tanzania. The analysis identified good practices and highlighted which areas needed improvement. The workshop provided the opportunity for networking between stations country-wide and key stakeholders in farm radio, allowing for information sharing and lessons learned from each other’s practices. The purpose of such a workshop was to identify the services, policies and processes that would result in better farm radio programs serving the needs of farmers.
One activity that was part of encouraging interactivity among the group of participants was conducting interviews between those who participated in the ARRPA research and those who had not, which would facilitate group discussions. Specific to the group interview I facilitated, both sides agreed that farm radio is a learning process and that scripts play a significant role in benefitting the station as well as the listeners. Radio Peace was among the group members, with much to offer the discussion as a participant in the ARRPA research. The study helped bring to light an understanding of how listeners think and highlighted the need to go beyond the studio into the community.
Everyone was adamant that farm radio should be community-based, acquiring constant feedback from the farmers to provide relevant programming. It is essential to meet with farmers directly to identify their needs so as to address them effectively.
I feel I contributed a great deal to the content and understanding of the workshop, illustrating the breadth of knowledge I have acquired over the course of my internship with Farm Radio International. It also provided me the chance to improve upon my skills in public speaking. Overall, it was a very successful workshop concluding with suggestions for the way forward.
Intern with Farm Radio International