Madame Florence Acquaye of URA Radio interviews a farmer while carrying her son on her back.
Madame Florence hustles — it seems the only way to describe the 41-year-old’s energy as she moves from farmer to farmer with her recorder. She keeps the atmosphere warm and the energy up as she asks questions and records each farmer’s voice for broadcast. At the same time, she keeps her baby boy, Jo, wrapped securely on her back.
In quiet moments or when Jo is fussing, Madame Florence will take a few minutes to breastfeed him. She also has the support of the women in the communities she visits, who offer to hold him while she does her work in the field.
Florence is a broadcaster with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio URA branch in Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region of Ghana. She works for the station’s local language services, where she broadcasts in her native language, Garune. Florence has worked for the station since she was 17, after she completed secondary school. She used to present in English, but when there was a vacancy for a female presenter in Garune, Florence filled the spot.
Today, she presents a variety of shows on Radio URA. She is the lead Garune voice on the morning show as well as a political talk show, and also presents about community development. Florence is also the main broadcaster on Farm Radio’s Agricultural Technology Transfer (ATT) program. She says she has enjoyed working with FRI.
“They really show you how to broadcast issues, how to manage the time, so that at the end of a thirty-minute broadcast you will have done much.”
She admits that her radio programs were not nearly as well managed before she participated in FRI training. Now, however, she knows how to prepare program guides, find resource people, and adhere to FRI’s VOICE standards.
“I like to do my best. What is challenging is the fact that I want to come up with the very best program. So to me, the ATT program and the Farm Radio International standard has always been my challenge.”
As a single mother, Florence has the added challenge of balancing childcare and work. Thankfully, Radio URA has been very supportive in that regard. When she is presenting, she employs a girl to take care of her six-month-old son so that she is not distracted and can do her best on the air. When she is not presenting, she often takes the baby into the field with her.
“I feel privileged because in our country, in most departments, you don’t have the opportunity to take a child [to work],” she says.
While Florence enjoys the fame that comes from presenting on air, she also enjoys being able to make a difference in people’s lives.
“When you do a program, and you go out and people see you and acknowledge the way you present the program and express how happy they are, and then tell you how you have directed them to solve one or two programs — that is what has kept me going,” she says. “Radio is a powerful medium that reaches people in every corner of the world.”