From market woman to radio show host

| May 26, 2023

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It’s a Monday evening, and Adja Malado Diakité sits down behind the microphone at Radio Wassoulou in Yanfolila, southern Mali. She’s about to deliver her weekly radio program, Mousso djôyôrô, or “The place of women in society.”

At first glance, Mrs. Diakité seems like a pro behind the microphone. She has received plenty of training and, at this point, is used to speaking on air. But she hasn’t always been a radio show host.

Mrs. Diakité is a market gardener and processor of local products like honey and fonio, a grain similar to millet that is popular in West Africa. Mrs. Diakité’s involvement with her local radio station started when she facilitated women’s community listening groups for Farm Radio’s Scaling Her Voice on Air project, which aimed to improve food security and gender equality in four West African countries.

Through this project, Mrs. Diakité received training on topics such as gender issues and interactive radio and participated in design workshops to plan content for radio programs. She also gained practice and confidence speaking on radio programs.

In the first series of project radio programs, Mrs. Diakité was an on-air guest, speaking about good nutritional practices. By the third series, she was a resource person, being consulted about market products and how to properly store them. She provided valuable information on topics like preparing soil and producing compost and natural pesticides.

Mrs. Diakité says, “These programs have brought many positive changes in my life and have especially brought me fame in our locality.”

She adds: “After each program I hosted, I received many calls for clarification or to provide further information on good market gardening practices. The calls were also to let me know how useful this information was and to discuss solutions to the challenges faced by women in particular.”

Mrs. Diakité has witnessed changes in her community based on the content of the radio programs. Producers used to sell the same products at the same time, which reduced the price. Now, they sell a wide variety of products at prices that are both profitable for them and affordable for consumers.

They have also learned the value of selling as a group. Based on an episode that focused on women’s groups and group selling, the women who produce cashew nuts organized to sell together. As a result, they have standardized their prices—and boosted their profits.

The episode on drying and storing cereals was particularly helpful because producers often suffer large losses at these stages. Many producers called Mrs. Diakité personally to tell her how useful this information was.

Because of Mrs. Diakité’s success on air and her regular participation in training sessions throughout the project, Radio Wassoulou offered her the chance to host her own show.

Mrs. Diakité says: “I have gained confidence in myself and I am very proud to be the second woman at Radio Wassoulou. For me, the programs that were produced met the needs of the producers and were very useful for my community.”