Abraham Janneh believes it’s important for broadcasters to be fearless, have the best intentions, and always consider the customs and traditions of local people. Mr. Janneh is the station manager at Kolenten Radio in Kambia district, northwestern Sierra Leone. He has worked in radio for 10 years, and has a strong passion for promoting human rights and food security.
Mr. Janneh learned early in his radio career that one key to serving local farmers is connecting them with the assistance they can receive from the government. After he interviewed the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Food Security on air, several local organizations benefited from government support—including financial aid, food for work programs, and farming equipment. This encouraged farmers to get more involved with Mr. Janneh’s program.
Currently, he works on a program called Local farmers taking care of themselves. The program focuses on helping local farmers gain the technical know-how for successful farming and fishing.
According to Mr. Janneh, farmers’ major challenge in Kambia District is poverty. On his program, he interviews local farmers who explain their difficulties, and in particular their lack of financial means to adopt larger-scale farming. The program is simulcast across Sierra Leone and sometimes attracts the attention of the authorities. It is broadcast on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and often transcribed and published in newspapers across the country. This has sometimes resulted in financial assistance from the private sector for local farmers.
Mr. Janneh has received a lot of positive feedback on his program. Farmers say they appreciate receiving basic training on how to grow crops, and on which crops and livestock are most worthwhile to grow. They feel the program has given them a way to reach stakeholders and receive financial support. Listeners also appreciate sharing their experiences with other local farmers so that everyone can learn different farming approaches and become self-reliant.
Farmers’ voices are included in Mr. Janneh’s programs in a variety of ways, including face-to-face and phone interviews, recorded town meetings, and other kinds of community engagement. Mr. Janneh keeps his listeners entertained and engaged by playing local music, organizing storytelling hours, and giving prizes to the most hard-working farmers.
He has participated in a variety of activities with FRI, including online and face-to-face training. Mr. Janneh says he regularly uses FRI resources, and participated in the Distance Learning in Crisis project with FRI in 2021.
Mr. Janneh was a runner-up for the George Atkins Communication Award in 2023.