Gideon Kwame Sarkodie Osei has learned all the ropes of broadcasting, working as a host and producer of both morning shows and agricultural shows on ADARS FM in Ghana for nine years. He has participated in countless training opportunities, including Farm Radio International’s Farmer program e-course in 2014 and 2015, and several Barza Discussions.
Now, Gideon is sharing his expertise as a broadcaster trainer.
He says good broadcasters must communicate well, have an open and friendly personality, love to investigate, and be able to handle pressure — and must focus on contributing to the livelihoods of their listeners. Broadcasting can be an educational tool, a way to promote culture, a way of sharing information and entertainment, and a resource for listeners looking to improve their incomes. As such, he says broadcasters should try to improve the awareness and knowledge of the communities they serve, so communities can find solutions to development problems.
Gideon embodies this message.
Recently, on a regular field visit to Chiranda to produce a weekly farmer program in partnership with Farm Radio International, he observed that the villagers had no access to clean drinking water. The community’s only three boreholes had been destroyed. Because no effort had been made to reconstruct the boreholes, the women in the community had to walk more than five kilometres to fetch water from a stream for their crops and personal needs. Even then, the water was unsafe. The stream was used by cattle and other livestock in the community, making it unsafe for household use.
After the visit, Gideon decided to use his position as a broadcaster to advocate for change in the community. On subsequent radio shows, he called on district and community politicians to solve Chiranda’s plight. Through his continuous advocacy, he drew a local politician’s attention to the issue. The politician heeded the call, reconstructed the three boreholes, and commissioned a new one to be built by March 2017. A water and sanitation committee was also established to ensure that the people of Chiranda don’t go without water in the future.
Gideon says he took up the issue “because it was an important issue affecting the lives of the people, especially women and children. […] The community kept reiterating their concerns about the problem.”
He didn’t stop with the village of Chiranda. Most recently, he used his skills to support the farming community of Baniantwe in Kintampo. The community needed a safe source of water, as well as a community health nurse. According to Mr. Osei, the government sent a team to Baniantwe to assess the water situation last week, and a new nurse has already been assigned to the community.
Gideon is one of three George Atkins Communications Award winners for 2016. He says that the award recognizes his hard work, but also challenges him to be a change-maker. “I need to always think outside the box, be a critical thinker, and go beyond the status quo,” he says.
Gideon receives the George Atkins Communications Award from Director of Programs Ian Pringle.