My visit to Ghana brought back memories of my school days when I used to collect stamps from Africa. Ghanaian stamps were always very colourful and full of history and true to form: the Atlantic coast-line, colourful fishing boats, castles and forts reminding me of the 18th Century peak in the slave trade, and the warring factions between the European nations battling it out for control of the coastline and the gold hidden inland. It was here in 1957 that Kwame Nkrumah brought some stability to the nation of Ghana as she became the first sub-Sahara country to gain independence.
And it was here where the AbRMedia (Africa by Radio) held their three day Continental Convention, just north of the capital Accra. The theme of the Convention, 'His Story to All People', was taken up by the main speaker Pastor Shodankey Johnson from Sierra Leone who led the assembled media practitioners into considering true discipleship by telling 'His story, His way'. A number of other speakers dealt with the practicalities of fundraising, offering technical assistance to radio stations, a challenge to communicate with children, the best ways of using social media and achieving creative programme making.
Radio stations were represented at the convention from as far south as Lesotho and as far north as Mauritania, which gave me opportunities to discuss, and offer samples of, the Passion for Sport weekly programmes we produce - Planet Sport and Planet Sport Football Africa.
On the Saturday I moved down to Accra itself to join journalist colleague Erasmus Kwaw, often contributing to our Planet Sport Football Africa programmes. A group of 18 young people joined us at the Ghana University in the afternoon to conduct Focus Groups on our programmes. We spent five hours in separate groups listening to four programmes, holding a discussion on each of the productions and then finally each person filling out an evaluation form asking more specific questions about the programmes. We hope this will help the producers improve the quality and interest the programmes raise.
In the following two days, we had great opportunities in visiting local radio stations and their managers in Cape Coast and in Accra to offer programme samples and share about Passion for Sport, discussing plans on how they could include the programmes in their broadcast schedules. Meeting the founder of seven radio stations in Ghana and Uganda gave us the opportunity to place the Planet Sport Football Africa programme on one of the stations the following Saturday.
The Ghana venture was not to stop there as, en route by taxi to the airport for the return to England, my taxi broke down with about a mile to go. The kindness and support of Ghanaians came to the rescue as I hardly got out of the taxi with my luggage and another taxi behind agreed to take me the extra mile to the departure gate!