Paddy Roberts | April 20, 2015
This week, Barza Wire shines the spotlight on Kwamee Kwame, a 52-year-old broadcaster from Ghana.
Mr. Kwame was born in the small farming village of Dodome Avexa, in the Volta Region of Ghana. He was educated at the Ohawu College of Agriculture and the Christian Service University in Kumasi.
He is a trained agricultural extensionist, and holds a Certificate in General Agriculture and a Bachelors’ Degree in Communication Studies, specializing in public relations. He also works as a teacher trainer with the non-formal education division of the Ghana Education Service, and has worked as a change agent with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the past 29 years. In 2010, he started putting agriculture on the radio.
He says: “I always listen to radio and I always wanted to be on radio, so I made friends with those who work on [it]. Philip Baidoo of Garden City Radio and Kojo Marfo of Kapital Radio understood me and [invited] me onto their shows.”
Later, he became a panellist on farmer radio programs. He took responsibility for program production, broadcasting current issues, and keeping an eye out for sponsors.
He says: “My many years of travelling and interacting directly with farming families from all over Ghana made me aware of the untapped potential of our hard-working farmers. The farmers have answers too. And they have very good answers. This is the time for us to listen to their stories and we must learn to listen well.”
He decided to listen and document some of the decisions farmers make. For this reason, he created the program “Farmers’ Voice,” a platform for farmers to tell their own stories. The program also airs discussions with other stakeholders in the food value chain.
Mr. Kwame works at Garden City Radio, or GCR, which is owned and run by the state broadcaster, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. He says the station is unique. The staff is well-trained, professional, and dedicated to their audience. GCR is based in Kumasi, the capital city of Ashanti Region. It broadcasts to all 26 districts of Ashanti and beyond.
Mr. Kwame plays local and traditional music and the pre-recorded voices of known farmers and mentors. He says, “The number of phone-ins and feedbacks that we receive after [Farmers’ Voice] is wonderful. Farmers always want to be on the program as well.”The phone-ins make the audience a part of the program. In fact, Mr. Kwame says, “It is their program.”
Mr. Kwame says he really enjoyed participating in the Barza e-course. He explains: “[It] has made me who I wanted to be for a very long time. The motivation, encouragement, and focus needed … have made me a different person. It has also given me a professional touch and recognition among my peers. I am very confident now and prepared to go all out to help our farmers and farm families.”