Nelly Bassily | November 19, 2012
The atmosphere was festive, with drumming, singing, and speeches, on the September night when the 2012 George Atkins Communications Awards were presented in Arusha, Tanzania. In fact, we believe that George Atkins – the founder of Farm Radio International who passed away in 2009 – joined in the celebrations from the skies above!
Normally, the award is presented annually to one individual. But this year was different. Because two of the broadcasters nominated for the award have done such outstanding work, Farm Radio International staff could not choose between them. So we decided to honour both.
The George Atkins Communications Award for 2012 was presented to Lazarus Laiser from Radio Habari Maalum in Tanzania, and Emmanuel Asamoah from Rite FM in Ghana, two individuals who work with Farm Radio International broadcasting partners.
For the last several years, Lazarus has done an exceptional job as a scriptwriter for Farm Radio International. He has also played key roles in Farm Radio International’s recent research initiatives. Lazarus is a journalist, media trainer, and farmer program host with Habari Maalum Media, where he has worked since 1995.
Lazarus’ journey towards journalism began at a young age: “When I was five years old and when I saw my father listening to a radio … I requested my father: ’Please, can you open this radio and I see those people speaking in there?’” His father told him he needed to go to school in order to be on the radio. That moment sparked Lazarus’ desire to become a radio journalist.
Lazarus beams with joy as he says: “I’m so proud and humbled that Farm Radio International has given me this opportunity.”
Emmanuel’s commitment to farmer radio programs and his work with Farm Radio International in Ghana have also been outstanding. Emmanuel catalyzed the transformation of Rite FM into a station with a mission is to serve the agricultural community and promote social development.
Emmanuel’s journey towards radio was an unusual one. But like Lazarus, his journey started when he was young. When he read the Bible in church, churchgoers told Emmanuel’s father that his son had a beautiful voice and should consider being a radio broadcaster. His father took him to Rite FM. And Emmanuel’s love for radio has grown ever since.
Emmanuel admits that when his station assigned him to agricultural programming, he quit work for three months. He didn’t think agricultural radio would bring him an audience. But he was wrong. Emmanuel’s hard work with farmers has not only earned him the 2012 George Atkins Communications Award, but he is now the General Manager of Rite FM and hosts three programs.
Emmanuel feels that you can’t “… delink radio from what people are doing in the rural community, of which most are actually farmers…. As radio presenters, [radio] is a tool to do advocacy for farmers.“
Emmanuel sees his award as the result of a collective effort: “This award is not for me. This award is for Rite FM.”
Congratulations again to Lazarus and Emmanuel! You can watch a video that features both award winners here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM_SRaodGTw&noredirect=1