Tanzania: Meet Evelyn Balozi, winner of the 2023 George Atkins Communication Award

| March 19, 2023

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Evelyn Balozi was first inspired to become a broadcaster by her grandfather, who was fond of watching the news on TV. He told his granddaughter to follow the news closely, and encouraged her to imagine herself as a broadcaster. Now Ms. Balozi has been living her dream as a radio broadcaster for 14 years. She has served in many roles, including producer, presenter, acting station manager, and marketing officer at Utume FM in Tanzania.

Ms. Balozi is passionate about involving listeners in her programs. When she started broadcasting, she noticed that many broadcasters are based in cities, and it’s difficult for them to give rural listeners the chance to speak and be heard. This is why she gives listeners a chance to share their knowledge and perspectives on air and respects farmers’ knowledge as equal to other experts.

Ms. Balozi is currently working on an agro-ecological program that discusses step-by-step processes to prepare land, create inputs, and plant, harvest, and store crops in ecologically-friendly ways. It also covers adding value and marketing. To create the program, Ms. Balozi interviews farmers throughout her district.

She designs each program to give farmers the opportunity to talk about their challenges through call-ins, in-studio interviews, written messages to the station, and vox pops. Then she asks extension officers to respond to these issues live on air. 

Ms. Balozi recorded one episode in a village with local farmers and an extension officer who seldom visited. During the recording of the episode, the farmers forged a connection with the extension officer, taking advantage of his visit to deal with challenges outside the scope of the episode.

Ms. Balozi also serves her audience by reporting farmers’ concerns to the local council of agriculture and livestock department so their concerns get attention from local government.

Listeners say they like hearing about other farmers’ experiences and listening to experts who respond to their questions. They also enjoy the songs, poems, and plays that Ms. Balozi incorporates into the show.

Ms. Balozi credits FRI for these aspects of her program. She regularly learns from FRI through face-to-face training, as well as Barza Wire, online learning modules, and her regional WhatsApp group. She says these channels have helped her learn how to conduct productive interviews, consider gender equality in her program, improve the program’s sound quality, and encourage listeners to think about positive masculinity.

Hear from Evelyn Balozi of Utume FM in Tanzania: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCDj8faE_5E