By Tara Sprickerhoff
Photos by L. Manuel Baechlin and Ibrahim Walusimbi

Carleton Journalism grad Morgana Abdy interviews Ahianyo Gabriel to learn about how his community is navigating a rapidly changing climate. L. MANUEL BAECHLIN / FARM RADIO INTERNATIONAL

Microphone in hand, Carleton University grad Morgana Abdy interviews Major Kumasah about mangroves in the coastal Ghanaian community of Agbledomi.

On the other side of the continent, masters student Alex Dines sits under a 100-year-old mango tree in Kikandwa, Uganda. There, she interviews the local school’s elementary school teacher about how his students are not only learning their letters, but also how to plant seedlings in the community’s nursery.

Abdy and Dines, alongside four other students, spent the summer of 2023 in Ghana and Uganda reporting on community-based solutions to climate change, as part of an internship with Farm Radio International.

Working alongside Ghanaian and Ugandan broadcasters, the students conducted interviews, collected sound, and wrote scripts for the podcast Nature Answers: Rural Stories from a Changing Planet.

Carleton Journalism students and Farm Radio International Ghana visit the community of Gagbiri, a few kilometres outside of Garu, to learn about their nature-based solutions. L. MANUEL BAECHLIN / FARM RADIO INTERNATIONAL

The podcast shares the students’ reporting from rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, where some of the most vulnerable people on earth are turning to nature for solutions to a changing climate.

“It was about learning not only what people are doing on the ground in terms of nature-based solutions themselves but for me how journalism is done there as well,” said Abdy about the experience.

The internship is part of a longstanding partnership with Farm Radio and Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communications. Students are placed in Farm Radio International’s offices across Africa, where they complete original reporting shared by the Canadian charity.

The podcast features stories from people like Betty, a small restaurant owner (whose restaurant is a grill in the centre of town) who is hoping the proceeds from a fish farm will help grow her business — while also fertilizing nearby fields to Major, a man dedicated to giving back to his home by planting mangrove trees in order that other youth might have a future there.

MJ student Alex Dines interviews a local elementary school teacher in Kikandwa, Uganda about his work teaching students to plant seedlings. IBRAHIM WALUSIMBI/FARM RADIO INTERNATIONAL

“They are the ones who identified the problem but also identified the solution and are implementing that solution,” said Dines.

“I am just here to tell other people about [it], not ‘look at these people who have a problem,’ but ‘look at these people who have a solution and this is how we can learn from them instead of them learning from us.’”

L. Manuel Baechlin, Liam Baker, Chris Edwards, and Izzie Helenchilde are the Carleton students and recent graduates who joined Dines and Abdy with Farm Radio International in Ghana and Uganda in 2023.

The current batch of interns is set to depart in June of 2024.

The first season of Nature Answers is available wherever you get your podcasts.

About Farm Radio International

Farm Radio International is an international non-governmental organization uniquely focused on improving the lives of rural Africans through the world’s most accessible communications tool, radio, in combination with ICTs. They work with existing radio stations in Africa to design and run interactive communication for development campaigns that help millions of people achieve better livelihoods and health outcomes. They provide training and develop guides and resources for a network of thousands of broadcasters across sub-Saharan Africa as they improve their communities. And they craft digital innovations that feature the latest technologies to make rural radio programming more powerful than ever.

Thursday, May 30, 2024 in , ,
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