The three winners of the 2016 George Atkins Communications Award are being recognized at the sixth annual International Forum being put on in Montreal this week by WUSC and CECI. The theme of this year’s event is “Reaching the Tipping Point – How to Cultivate a Brighter Future,” and this year’s winners are certainly helping to do that through the role that they play in bringing information and opportunities to rural communities over the airwaves.
The George Atkins Communications Award was established in 1991 to recognize rural radio broadcasters for their outstanding commitment and contribution to food security and poverty reduction in low-income countries. The award pays homage to the late George Atkins, a leading Canadian farm radio broadcaster who established Farm Radio International in 1979 after coming up with the idea on a bumpy bus ride in Zambia a few years earlier.
The winners of this year’s award are certainly very deserving of both the prize and it is apt that they are being recognized at an event focused on building a brighter future together. That’s what these broadcasters do every day by airing radio programs that reach, respect, and give voice small-scale farmers and help them produce more and better food for their families and communities.
On the 25th anniversary of the George Atkins Communications Award, we were pleased to recognize three broadcasters who work tirelessly to produce radio programs that serve farmers. Congratulations to Carole Leuwe of Cameroon, Gideon Sarkodie of Ghana, and Sarah Adongo of Uganda.
Carole Leuwe, a journalist at Radio Nostalgie in Cameroon, is committed to bringing farmers hope in the face of big challenges. This hope comes in the form of reliable information, whether it’s about how to grow tomatoes or how to use new online platforms to sell agricultural products. Highlights of her four years as a radio host include producing a show about raising chickens that received many requests for rebroadcast, as well as one focused on avoiding malaria. Carole has participated in several of FRI’s online training courses as well as a face-to-face consultation about Barza, FRI’s online community for radio broadcasters.
Learn more about Carole in this broadcaster spotlight
of ADARS FM in Ghana has hosted and produced agricultural radio shows for nearly a decade. He often goes beyond the usual role of a broadcaster to advocate for rural communities. When he learned that one of his listening communities lost access to water after three wells were destroyed, he called on government officials to act. His on-air advocacy continued until the wells in Chiranda were reconstructed. Gideon has earned top honours in FRI’s broadcaster e-courses and regularly contributes to our online broadcaster discussion forums. He’s also committed to helping other broadcasters develop professionally as an FRI in-station trainer.
Learn more about Gideon in this broadcaster spotlight
, a broadcaster with Mega FM in Uganda, loves working with farmers because it reminds her of where she came from. Sarah’s parents were small-scale farmers and the proceeds from their farm paid for her higher education. She feels a personal responsibility to provide small-scale farmers with the information they need when they need it.
Sarah also believes that farmers must be able to speak and be heard in order to improve their lives. “I think involving the community in our programming creates the sense of ownership among them, since they give advice on how they want things done,” she says.
Sarah has been involved in three FRI impact projects, including the My Children radio drama, which encourages listeners to grow and eat nutritious orange-fleshed sweet potato.
Learn more about Sarah in this broadcaster spotlight
Congratulations to this year’s winners, and thank you for the work that you do. George would be proud.