Seydou Camara, winner of the George Atkins Communications Award

December 08, 2019
A translation for this article is available in French

Seydou Camara describes himself as a “lover of the countryside.” And as the son of a farmer, he knows a lot about agriculture. These qualities help him to prepare his radio programs, and particularly to prepare for field visits.

Mr. Camara has worked at Radio Wassoulou in Yanfolila, Mali, for seven years, where he is a host. He says, “Naturally, I like to serve people and in my opinion, media is a great way to put into practice this ambition.”

He is responsible for many radio programs, but he is in charge of La parole paysanne (The words of the farmer). For this weekly show, he travels to produce his episodes from the field and other locations. The program invites producers who are experienced in their respective agricultural sector (crop production, orchards, fishing, etc.) to share their knowledge with others.

Mr. Camara knows the importance of this information, and he makes sure to share the information he collects on field trips with other members of his broadcasting team.

Mr. Camara’s experience is not limited to farming programs. He presents programs on other important rural development topics, including public health and the environment. He also moderates debates on issues in the news.

He used this debate platform to examine a major problem for farmers in his region. The government decided to provide subsidized fertilizer to farmers in an effort to improve their production. But the fertilizer was diverted by state agents and sold to businessmen, who then re-sold it to farmers at a higher price. Mr. Camara hosted a debate between the president of the Chamber of Agriculture, a farmer who didn’t receive fertilizer, and a fertilizer dealer who was planning to re-sell fertilizer from his store.

Mr. Camara says: “The debate was very heated because the offenders did not recognize the facts, but the prefect followed the debate and the next day he summoned the Agriculture Sector Chief and ordered him to recover all fertilizers sold illegally. Since that day, the fertilizer is distributed in a transparent and equitable way because he always has an eye on their deeds and actions.”

Mr. Camara received a lot of feedback on this debate. For the next episode, he opened the phone lines for listeners to express their own opinions on the issue. It was a popular episode.

Radio Wassoulou has been an FRI broadcasting partner for many years (since 2000). Mr. Camara uses our resources to help him with research and to produce quality episodes. He has participated in many FRI trainings, including a recent in-station and gender training as part of the Scaling Her Voice project. He wrote a blog sharing his perspective.

Mr. Camara was one of three winners of this year’s George Atkins Communications Award. The George Atkins Communications Award recognizes radio broadcasters for their excellence in serving their rural audience and commitment to Farm Radio International.

He says: “When they told me that I had won the George Atkins prize, I could not believe it. The day the prize was awarded, I was very moved because this is the first personal trophy I have received. I had family members around me, administrative authorities and politicians, fellow broadcasters, and my whole community of Yanfolila congratulated me. This award made me think about the future and I have already started to prepare for the next year.”

We have published profiles of all the winners of the George Atkins Communications Award in the Spotlight section. Stay tuned for profiles of the runners-up.

Photo: Seydou Camara receives his award surrounded by women listeners to his radio program.