Shamba Shape Up is the third “edu-tainment” production created by Mediae, and the first of its kind in Kenya. Aimed at East Africa’s rapidly growing rural audience, the make over style TV show aims to give both farmer and audience the tools they need to improve productivity and income on their farms.
The Shape Up team visit a different farm each week in a different area of the country. The team involve the film crew and a number of experts from partner organisations who specialise in the topics to be covered in the episode.
The core of the series tackles issues surrounding livestock, poultry, crops and soil fertility. Other relevant topics such as financial planning, solar power and harvesting rainwater are also included depending on the needs of the farmer in the episode.
Typically the film crew spend 4 days with one household, allowing enough time to build any improvement structures and invite the experts in to advise. These experts include veterinarians, soil analysists and specific crop specialists from partnering companies in Kenya. At the end of each episode, viewers are encouraged to SMS their name’s and addresses in order to receive a free leaflet on the topics covered in the show, as well as follow updates and video clips on the Shamba Shape Up Facebook page.
Mediae is entirely research led and based, and invests a lot in monitoring the changes in knowledge, attitude and practice of viewers across all their productions. The company has a vital two-way relationship with viewers pioneered by the soap series “Makutano Junction.” Indeed Tonny Njuguna and Naomi Kamau, who present Shamba Shape Up, where two favourites from Makutano.
Shamba Shape Up’s estimated audience in the first series is around 5 million, with this number rising to 10 million by the end of series 5 in the whole of East Africa (and 5 million in Kenya alone). If even just 10% of the viewers of series one adopt new practices as a result of the show, that’s 1 million farmers who’s sustainable livelihoods have become more informed and productive. More positive change comes from reading our news research by Reading University; the research which took place in 2014 found that the overall number of households specifically reporting that they had made changes to their maize or dairy practices as a result of the programme, or who reported that they had benefited from SSU through increased profit or improved household food situation, is statistically estimated to be 428,566. Households who reported making specific changes in their farming practices as a result of Shamba Shape Up are statistically estimated to be 218,562 households for maize and 65,063 for dairy. From these two enterprises, the statistically estimated net economic impact in the 25
counties was US$24,718,648; this comes mostly from dairy enterprises.