This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on 13 February 2017.
Today, February 13, 2017 is World Radio Day. A day set aside to celebrate radio and remember the distinctive ways radio impacts the life of people around the world. This year's theme: “Radio is You!”, is significant as it emphasizes the role of the public, irrespective of race, gender, class or colour, as functional agents of change in their communities through the airwaves.
As we celebrate the day, the MFWA shares with you how radio has transformed the life of a 47-year old visually impaired man, Ibrahim Tafali Lukuman, a resident of Taffasi in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region of Ghana.
My name is Ibrahim Tafali Lukuman. I am 47 years old and visually impaired. I come from Taffiasi in the Sissala East District, 15km from Tumu – the district capital.
I am an ardent listener of RADFORD FM. Despite my disability, I always have my radio beside me. One day, I tuned into the station and heard a discussion on the role of the District Assembly and its impact on development. During the discussion, I learnt about some support for Persons With Disability (PWD) available at the District Assembly.
Not long after the programme, the radio station organized a community forum in Taffiasi. The District Chief Executive (DCE) was present and I inquired from him about the District Assembly's support for Persons With Disability and how I can access it. He mentioned to me that the Assembly has a 2% budget allocation set aside from the District Assembly's Common Fund to assist persons with disability. He explained how the support works, who qualifies for it and how to access it.
Mohammed Balu, (host of the district assembly radio programme on RADFORD FM) after the forum, asked me to come and see him in his office. He got a colleague to lead me to see the District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO), Mr. Sheriffdeen. The DSWO, asked me how much I needed. I mentioned six hundred Ghana Cedis (GHC600) and he asked that I keep checking with him. One day, DSWO asked me to come along with my voter's ID and health insurance cards; which I did and eventually, the six hundred Ghana Cedis was given to me.
I was very happy. I used the money to buy a bag of gari, sugar and other things and decided to sell those things by myself. Since then, I have a means of sustenance to cater for my three children in school, two of whom are already in Junior High School (JHS).
If it had not been for that District Assembly radio programme and the community forum in Taffiasi, I would not have known about such support for the disabled. It has brought happiness to my wife and children as I am now able to support them. I have also made efforts to tell my friends who are disabled about the availability of this support at the District Assembly.
If it had not been for that District Assembly radio programme...I would not have known about such support for the disabled. It has brought happiness to my wife and children as I am now able to support them
This indeed reflects the significance of radio and especially the theme for the 2017 World Radio Day – “Radio is You”.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) acknowledges the crucial role radio plays in public debates and discussions, mobilisation, sensitisation and awareness creation and on this day, wishes to congratulate all radio stations in West Africa for their contribution the development of the sub-region.
The MFWA is mindful that despite their crucial role, journalists and media organisations are confronted with challenges and constantly require support, monitoring and pointing out of professional lapses to them.
We therefore call on state institutions and civil society organisations to offer support to help improve the capacity of media practitioners to carry out their duties in a professional manner.
The MFWA also urges radio workers to strive at all times to remain professional in the discharge of their duties and remain committed to the enterprise of democratic governance, which is to hold duty bearers accountable to their promises, and ensure fair, just and participatory governance.