In 2023, Uganda news anchor Martin Amaiyko Kigongo took on a new challenge—creating 20-minute radio documentaries for Farm Radio International’s “On-Air for Gender-Inclusive Nature-based Solutions” project. Used to delivering news bites, Mr. Kigongo struggled with the unfamiliar format and the difficulties of trying something new.
Mr. Kigongo’s persistence paid off in November when he won a national Population Media Award for the best radio program on population and development. Judges praised his simple yet compelling presentation among 65 entries.
Mr. Kigongo reflected on his start in radio at 18, writing scripts for Radio Simba. On International Women’s Day in 2018, he unexpectedly found himself in the news anchor’s chair, earning praise for his confidence and “sweet” voice.
In 2023, Radio Simba collaborated with Farm Radio, providing hands-on workshops to Mr. Kigongo and colleagues from partner stations. These sessions revealed the nuances of crafting radio documentaries and delving into gender- and youth-inclusive Nature-Based Solutions to climate change across six countries.
Mr. Kigongo learned to incorporate ambient sounds and guide listeners through visual narratives, discovering that documentaries focus on individuals or groups facing challenges, rather than being exhaustive investigations.
His award-winning series spotlighted farmers and activists in Kikandwa sub-county and showcased agroforestry’s role in combating deforestation. The documentaries demonstrated the transformative impact of replanting indigenous trees—how it rejuvenates habitats and fosters prosperity.
For Mr. Kigongo, journalism is a catalyst for social change. He believes his award-winning documentary achieved just that, resonating beyond the airwaves to impact perceptions and inspire change in Ugandan communities.
Farm Radio International (FRI) is a Canadian non-profit organization specializing in ICT-enabled extension and communication for reaching rural and remote communities at scale in local languages in sub-Saharan Africa. FRI’s core expertise is collaborative, user-focused co-creation of quality information and advisory services, combining radio and mobile phones, other ICTs and face-to-face interaction.