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Florence Acquaye: Balancing childcare and work at Radio URA, Ghana

Florence Acquaye hustles. It seems the only way to describe the 42-year-old’s energy as she moves from farmer to farmer with her recorder.

She keeps the atmosphere warm and the energy lively as she asks questions and records each farmer’s voice for broadcast. At the same time, she keeps her youngest son, Jo, wrapped securely on her back.

In quiet moments, or when Jo is crying, Mrs. Acquaye takes five minutes to breastfeed or hands her son to one of the many nearby women, who play with him as she continues to work.

Mrs. Acquaye is a broadcaster with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. She works with GBC’s Radio URA branch in Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region.

She is employed by the station’s local language service, where she broadcasts in her native language, Garune. Mrs. Acquaye started working for the station when she was 17, after completing secondary school. At that time, she presented in English. But when there was a vacancy for a female presenter in Garune, Mrs. Acquaye filled the spot.

Today, she presents a variety of programs on Radio URA. She is the lead Garune voice on the morning show as well as a political talk show, and also presents on community development. Mrs. Acquaye was the lead announcer on an agricultural program produced in partnership with Farm Radio International.

She says she has learned a lot from her collaboration with Farm Radio International, particularly how to manage a program, “They really show you how to broadcast issues, how to manage the time, so that at the end of a 30-minute broadcast, you will have done much,” she explains. She says she also learned how to prepare program guides, find resource people, and work to Farm Radio International’s VOICE standards.

Mrs. Acquaye faces an additional challenge. Because she does not have childcare at home, she takes her six-month-old son to work with her.

“I feel privileged because in our country, in most departments, you don’t have the opportunity to take a child [to work],” she says.

Her lack of childcare can be difficult if she needs to travel for workshops or if one of her two boys is sick. But Mrs. Acquaye has generally been able to balance childcare and work at Radio URA. She employs a girl to take her son when she is presenting so that she is not distracted while on air.

She adds: “As a single mother, I like to do my best. What is challenging is the fact that I want to come up with the very best program. So to me, the [agricultural] program and the Farm Radio International [VOICE] standard has always been my challenge.”

While Mrs. Acquaye enjoys the recognition associated with presenting on air, she also enjoys being able to make a difference in people’s lives.

“When you do a program, and you go out and people see you and acknowledge the way you present the program and express how happy they are, and then tell you how you have directed them to solve one or two problems—that is what has kept me going,” she says.

She adds, “Radio is a powerful medium that reaches people in every corner of the world.”

This story was originally published in August 2016.