Nelly Bassily | May 14, 2012
I joined Farm Radio International as Farm Radio Weekly Editor in October 2007. At that time, I was fresh from the completion of a Master’s Degree in International Affairs, a course of study I took after deciding to make a career shift away from daily journalism. Farm Radio Weekly was a dream, piggybacking on the spread of internet access in Africa and providing resources to FRI’s broadcasting partners on a more regular basis.
For two and a half years, I was honoured to play a large role in the first 100+ editions of FRW. Our readership grew by leaps and bounds, our format strengthened to include farmer-focused stories written by African freelancers, and my personal knowledge and understanding of small-scale farming issues grew immensely.
Land grabbing was an issue that exploded in scope and importance during my stint as FRW Editor. We wanted to use FRW to inform people about this tremendous threat to food security and we also wanted to find stories of farmers fighting back against the powerful forces of government and industry looking to take over agricultural land. The story that follows was first published in June 2009 and remains rooted in my mind because it’s about an organized – and successful – effort by farmers to resist land grabbing.
-Uganda: Urban farmers fight eviction (by Sawa Pius for Farm Radio Weekly in Uganda, FRW 72, June 2009)
As rewarding as I found my work as FRW Editor, my priorities shifted in May 2010 when my son was born. I took maternity leave and fully embraced “mommyhood.” I returned to FRI as a part-time Communications Office in 2011, focusing on different types of writing, such as letters to donors. I am excited to rejoin the FRW team in the coming weeks and look forward to supporting FRW’s thousands of subscribers in their efforts to strengthen small-scale farming in Africa.