Road Behind and Road Ahead

As Akua lets me know that our radio program will be aired in a little over twenty-four hours, I just look back and marvel at how much progress we made in such a little span of time. Something that just began as a small seed of an idea has been watered and nurtured with research and passion until it grew into a project I truly love.

From the beginning, I wanted to create a short radio segment discussing sociological ideas of gender within the Northern Ghanaian context and open up a platform for women’s issues on the radio. I wanted to surround our program around the question, “What is the difference between a man and a woman?” However, the project developed greatly out of the small germ of this original vision. After consulting heavily with Esteniolla, she advised me to take the radio program to the next level and it grew into a script that covered not only sociology concepts, but Ghanaian women’s history, cross-cultural comparison, and ideas for the future as well. My actual project ultimately eclipsed my vision as it grew into something so much more.

With Alice’s edits of my script to make it even more engaging, Brandon’s recommendations of how to explain sociology concepts, Maccarthy’s technological advice, Elizabeth and Esther’s heroic efforts in helping me tackle the prerecording, and Sumaila’s advice and expertise translating, Akua and I were in good hands to make this radio program not only possible, but accessible and engaging.

One of the greatest achievements I think about Akua’s and my project is how all encompassing our script is. Instead of limiting our discussion to universalizing concepts of white feminism, I like to think we showed the intersectionality of different women’s experiences according to the context. I am proud of the broad base of history we provide and succinct way were able to describe gender roles and the unconscious oppression of women.

However, some of the bigger challenges involved the length of the script because it covered such a wide base of ideas. We were caught up in how to divide all the work without sacrificing any important information. The process of bouncing ideas off of each other was also difficult because of the long distance, thankfully we were able to find a common vision and organize our differing ideas.

My goals surrounding the radio project have become more specific, especially after speaking to Brandon, a Haverford fellow who was involved with the fellowship last year. He explained how rarely they would get female callers during broadcasts and the difficulty of working with women. These anecdotes and advice narrowed my goals into having positive feminist ideas reach the women of the community and give them more confidence in their voice, even if they are unable to call in themselves (as their husband might have access to the only phone). The culture of silence for women is strong in Dalun, according to Brandon. I don’t expect women to open up all of sudden just after one broadcast, but I do hope that it helps circulates the flow of ideas about women’s representation.

After the three weeks, I hope to continue the project as our main script will be potentially be split into an ongoing mini-series that will cover the sociology, history, and cross-cultural comparison of gender issues in Ghana. I hope the long-lasting effects will be a greater number of women’s callers and potentially a permanent program for the discussion of feminism on Simili Radio.

For my future projects for Dagbani and Literature, I think this creation of a platform for story sharing will be extremely useful as each of my topics involves cross-cultural communication and storytelling from the perspective of different contexts. With my new experience in cross-cultural dialogue, I feel more prepared in tacking my future projects, as I will again explore the different relationships of the experiences of American and Ghanaian people.

As my broadcast is yet to air, I am still left with so many questions. I am most concerned with whether or not our script will be accessible or useful to the public. Maybe they are already familiar with these ideas, or maybe the culture of silence is so strong that these concepts won’t truly take hold. I am both excited and a bit nervous to see the audience’s reaction Thursday morning to see what changes have to be made, but despite the challenges ahead, I am just proud of Akua and I for helping a advance platform for women’s voices.

One thought on “Road Behind and Road Ahead”

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