Olwyn Parkinson | November 19, 2021
Samuel Nana Effah Obeng began his career in broadcasting and media in high school, and has only continued to grow as a broadcaster since his station was named as a runner-up for the Liz Hughes Award in 2021 for a program called The She Show. Mr. Obeng is the manager and executive producer of Ocean1TV and Ahomka 99.5 FM in Elmina, in the Central Region of Ghana.
He began his career in media by writing cartoon sketches for his high school newspaper. The newspaper was promoting awareness of HIV and AIDS and the publishers suggested he do something creative for it. This early work on youth-related issues inspired him to continue to engage with young people and spread information about a variety of topics, including HIV and AIDS, and equal voice for women. Mr. Obeng says it was a big inspiration to be able to “stand up for people who otherwise didn’t have the ability,” and this is what motivated him to begin his career in radio broadcasting.
The Liz Hughes Award was created to recognize radio stations who are dedicated to serving women listeners. Mr. Obeng says that his inspiration to apply for the award sprang from a desire to generate awareness about issues affecting women.
Since receiving this recognition from Farm Radio International, The She Show has only generated more attention. The program focuses on issues of gender equality and inclusion, including inequity of voice, women’s role in farming, and the barriers women face in generating an income and managing money, among others. It was created to empower women and air their perspectives on the issues that impact their lives. The She Show has become an outlet for women to speak freely about their concerns, be educated, and empower themselves. Due to the low education rates for women in the central region of Ghana, about 80% of the show is broadcast in a local language called Akan, which allows more listeners to participate.
When asked what advice he would give applicants for the Liz Hughes Award, Mr. Obeng says, “The person and their team must be dedicated to the cause.” He adds that applicants must be focused and keep their eyes open for as many award applications as they can. He says the more attention they can bring to the show, the greater the impact broadcasters can have on the people they are supporting.
Since being recognized as runners-up for the award, The She Show team has used lessons and discussions from the program to offer workshops, conferences, and other in-person opportunities to listeners. They believe this will help listeners better understand the content discussed on air, and provide an environment for more discussions about gender-related issues, in addition to empowering women to practice the new skills and lessons from the radio program in their day-to-day lives.
That is why the team at Ahomka 99.5 FM created the She Conference, an event where women practice the things they are taught on The She Show, ranging all the way from bead-making to financial management. Women are encouraged to bring their husbands, children, and families to the event to engage in the activities and discussion as well.
The She Show team also organizes health screenings for women, free of charge, including screenings for cervical cancer and breast cancer. There are also discussions, workshops, and classes that women can participate in, organized by The She Show team to further reinforce the gender-related issues discussed on air.
By bringing on air teaching and conversations to women directly, the team hopes to influence women’s lives and empower them to create more income for themselves and their families.