Date Posted: October 6th, 2008
In Bambara, “Kayira” means happiness! Last week, we were very happy to have Mahamadou Diarra with us in Ottawa. Mahamadou is the coordinator of the Réseau de Communication Kayira (also known as Radio Libre Kayira or just Radio Kayira) in Mali. “Kayira is a radio that actively fights alongside the poorest stratum of society,” says Mahamadou.
In 1993, following the fall of the dictatorial regime of Moussa Traoré and the opening up of the radio airwaves in Mali, Radio Libre Kayira was born. The network, which now includes nine radio stations in southern Mali, has been a Farm Radio International partner since 1995.
The nine radio stations in the Kayira network are in Bamako, Ségou, Koutiala, Kita, Mahina, Niono, Koulondieba, Kayes, and Niakourazana. According to Mahamadou, Radio Kayira focuses primarily on women and better understanding their roles in society. However, Radio Kayira also focuses on and helps farmers, often defending their rights. For example, Mahamadou explains that an agricultural development bank which was transformed into a commercial bank had loaned money to farmers for the purchase of cattle and ploughs. However, the season was not good and farmers were unable to repay the borrowed money. The bank then seized 80 cows from the village. Farmers complained to Radio Kayira and, following an investigation, Radio Kayira discovered that the bank took the cows into the city and sold them for 50,000 CFA francs (about 100 American dollars or 75 Euros) each, while others were given to a prosecutor, to the police chief, or were slaughtered. Through their association with Radio Kayira, farmers realized that they can voice their complaints and demand their rights
In addition to disseminating news in the local Bambara language, Radio Kayira airs a radio program called Togoda that focuses solely on agriculture. In Bambara, Togoda means “village” or “rural area.” This program deals with all issues related to agriculture and the livelihoods of farmers. Other topics discussed on Radio Kayira include education, health, and the environment.
Mahamadou also talked about the Radio Kayira listening club. He says it costs 500 CFA francs (about 1 American dollar or 0.76 euro) to become a Radio Kayira listening club member. The membership card allows members to attend board meetings and critique the radio. Last year, Radio Kayira sold nearly 10,000 membership cards. However, even those who are not paying members of the listening club can approach the radio stations with their concerns and participate in programs.
What will the future bring for Radio Kayira? There is an ongoing project to increase the number of radio stations in the network to 19 (10 additional radio stations) by 2012.
Mahamadou encourages and commends Farm Radio International for its work. He also made a special appeal to FRW readers: “Farm Radio Weekly [readers], all across Africa, really need to get more involved in helping out farmers. Everyone must get involved because farmers are our salvation. We must be able to provide enough food for Africa because, if we do not have enough to eat, we can not possibly talk about development.”
For more information about Radio Kayira, visit their website: http://www.kayira.org/. (in French only)
-Click here to listen to Mahamadou Diarra and Nelly Bassily (Farm Radio International’s Research and Production Officer) interviewed on Radio Canada. (In French only)
Mahamadou and Nelly during the interview in the Radio-Canada studios.
-Click on the links below to listen to an interview conducted by the Farm Radio Weekly team with Mahamadou. (In French only)