Date Posted: September 8th, 2014
Farm Radio Weekly presents the first in a series of profiles of this year’s three George Atkins Communication Award winners.
The late Mfaume Zabibu Kikwato, or “Kikwato Junior” as he liked to be called by his fans, was the driving force behind the creation of a farmer program at Mwambao FM radio, a station based in Tanga, in the Coastal Region of Tanzania.
He successfully hosted the program, Sauti ya Mkulima or Voice of a Farmer, for almost a year before he died on June 10, 2014. He passed away while his audience, especially female farmers, still needed him.
In a special ceremony on September 3, 2014 at Mwambao FM, FRI’s Managing Editor, Vijay Cuddeford, presented the George Atkins Communications Award to Kikwato Junior’s family.
Kikwato Junior joined Mwambao FM in 2011 and shortly afterwards introduced Sauti ya Mkulima. The program gained a huge following and attracted financial support by local agricultural organizations.
With this funding, Kikwato Junior visited and recorded farmers’ voices in the field, thereby increasing their participation in the program.
In the short period he presented Sauti ya Mkulima, he demonstrated commitment and creativity. He took action after learning that cultural barriers were restricting women farmers from participating in the programs and making their voices heard.
Kikwato challenged the situation by introducing a special hotline for women to call in to the program. This strategy encouraged women farmers to participate. Before the hotline, only 10 per cent of callers were women farmers. Now, women account for half of all calls ─ truly equal participation.
Kikwato Junior also introduced a blog which, among other issues, promotes women rights. The URL is: (www.kikwatojr.blogspot.com).
Though he has sadly passed away, Kikwato’s legacy of ensuring that the voices of women farmers are heard will live on.