Tag Archives: filming

Man Made Milking Machine!

cow tongue

While filming on a farm in Limuru, Kenya for another episode of the new series, we came across one of the fastest milkers we had ever seen on our travels! The farmer, who owned over 30 cows and a massive 17,000 chickens, was clearly used to getting a lot of work done in a short amount of time.

Check his skills out in the video below and tell us if you think you could do better!


Partners Meeting


Last week, Shamba Shape Up held a meeting with all our partn​ers for Series 5 and​ Series 6 to learn a bit more about the show, the behind the scenes work that goes into it, and take ​a tentative look at the results from the series aired so far.

The day, which had several of our biggest partners present, was a huge success, with partners learning that there is so much more to Shamba Shape Up than just the show!


Anne Marie, the S​eries P​roducer, shared​ details about the show’s audience ​reach​, ​which has stayed fairly steady, despite the change over from analogue to digital in Kenya​, and which for the first time extends into Tanzania and Uganda​, alongside the audience demographics, participation, how ​the SMS database works​ and the show’s large social media following.

Anne Marie’s presentation is available here.

After, Rachel and Ann came up to discuss our newest service, iShamba. iShamba. A mobile information service for farmers.​ With hundreds of ​new-subscribers every week, Rachel let partners know some of the opportunities for their further involvement. She touched specifically on Mea Fertiliser’s success, which you can read about in last week’s blog post here.


After the presentations were over, partners were invited to meet with the staff who create the show, and work behind the scenes.

Tables were set up with the show’s editors who explained​ the process of how the film shot on location is taken and then ​edited down to make an episode. Mark, our graphic designer was also on hand to explain how pictures are added to the film to make information easier to understand.


Serro, the Head of Sound and Radio, was also available to explain how popular the new Shamba Shape Up ​radio show has been, and how it is being reached by listeners across the whole of Kenya. It airs in Swahili on Citizen Radio at 9.30pm each week day and you can listen to archive recordings here.

SMS Service Manager, Mary, and Communications Officer, Katharine, worked together to show partners how the SMS service works and how best to use it to disseminate information to interested farmers. The SMS service was in particular demand as partners learnt how best they can reach farmers with the leaflet system. Katharine explained how the leaflets are made and how information can be given by partners to be added to the leaflets.

Katharine also explained the popularity of the show on social media – the Facebook page being one of the more popular agricultural pages in the region with over 45,000 likes. Partners were also interested to learn how Shamba Shape Up is on Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, LinkedIn and, of course, our blog here.

The meeting ended in lunch, where partners got to discuss their segments within the show, as well as chat to other members of staff. Partners also were given the chance to practise playing ‘expert’ by taking to the front of the camera with the presenters and try their hand at being an expert on the show – something some took to more readily than others!​

The meeting ended in lunch, where partners had the opportunity to discuss their segments within the show, as well as chat to other members of staff.


Shamba Shape Up visits Homa Bay, Kisii & Vihiga for final filming

Shamba Shape Up has been touring Kenya to film the final episodes of the new series, which starts on the 14th March 2015.

The show, which was meant to have been filmed a week ago, had to be put on hold due to a worries about regional election violence in Homa Bay. However, when the troubles never occurred the filming was back on track with the crew heading up last week.

Despite a cholera outbreak close to one of the farms, filming went ahead with some great shots of the shamba being made. One of the shamba’s found (in Kisii) was owned and farmed by a young man, who had recently returned from Nairobi after finishing his degree. Shamba Shape Up loves to see young farmers doing well, and we are always here to provide extra information for them to do better!

Below are some photos of filming, which show the shamba in Kisii we visited.

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A reality TV show with real impacts on farms

Filming Series 4

CCAFS have written a report highlighting the work Shamba Shape Up does and the results we are getting. For CCAFS, it’s an ideal opportunity to scale up communication and turn knowledge into action. Scientists involved in climate-smart agriculture research across CGIAR help develop the show’s content and are regularly featured in episodes.

CCAFS have measured impact by looking at our Facebook page, our Twitter, this blog, the leaflets and our most recent research which was led by AECF.

To read what CCAFS wrote, please have a look on their blog here or at the more general report here.

Creating Shamba Shape Up Leaflets

Ever since the creation of Shamba Shape Up over 4 years ago, we have always had our SMS database, which is used to send out thousands of informational leaflets to fans and farmers who are in need of a little bit of extra help, after the show is over.

The leaflets, which are full of information from the episode as well as other pieces of information that may be of use to the reader, are sent out after each episode completely for free. Instead of spamming our viewers with information, we believe that if people are interested enough to ask for them, then we will provide. The leaflets are 4 pages long, and cover content that has been on the show. The leaflets can be found both online on our website (www.shambashapeup.com) or can be requested via SMS. The SMS system is simple; viewers send an SMS with their name, address & their subject of interest (eg. Lucy’s farm, chickens, cows, IR maize) to 30606. Once we have received their SMS, we post to them the relevant information for free.

Sometimes farmers SMS us asking a question. As a media company with only a limited number of agricultural based staff, we get the help of our sponsors to answer these questions. Each of our sponsors has a log in key to our database and can access it at any point. They can log in and answer questions that we have ‘tagged’ them in. This provides a great link between farmers and our sponsors, often allowing farmers to get the information they need quickly and effectively, while also being completely  personalised.

The leaflets are designed in house by a team of agricultural experts and designers and printed in a nearby printing house. The leaflets are then sorted within the Shamba Shape Up office, with the addresses added and then posted out in the thousands across all of Kenya.

Designing the leaflet can be interesting – deciding what content to add in, how to add content in an easy to understand way and choosing which pictures and diagrams will best aid the words. It is important when writing the leaflets to keep in mind who the audience for the leaflets are – often farmers who find reading English difficult. For this reason, we keep the wording on the leaflets simple, with words no more than five letters long.

In the next series which starts in March 2015, we plan to branch out to Uganda and Tanzania and send out leaflets to these countries. Leaflets so far had only been sent out within Kenya due to postal issues, however we have plans to expand. Leaflets are now being created for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, with personalised information for the areas we are posting to. This means we will are now creating many more leaflets, and for the first time in Kiswahili (for Tanzania), to help farmers across East Africa get the information they need.

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How a farming reality show is transforming the lives of farmers | David Campbell | TEDxNairobi

Recently, David Campbell, Company Director of The Mediae Company (and producers of Shamba Shape Up) spoke at the TEDxNairobi discussion held on Food, Waste, Agriculture and Climate Change. Watch the below video to listen to David speak about Shamba Shape Up, and how it grew from humble beginnings to one of the Kenya’s biggest TV successes.

If you enjoyed the video, or felt you learnt more about the show, then please share with others who may be interested in it.

Scouting in Homa Bay and Vihiga County

Before Shamba Shape Up can start to film an episode for our new Series 5, which is starting in March, we must first go ‘scouting’ in the area we are hoping to film in. ‘Scouting’ is when we go to an area to look for a shamba (Swahili for ‘farm’) that fits the requirements for the episode.

‘Scouting’ can be both interesting, and frustrating. Before we leave from Nairobi, the Shamba Shape Up team and our sponsors for the episode discuss what we are hoping to film in the area. This could include larger theme topics, such as chickens, cows or soil, but also localised themes, such as Newcastle Disease (for chickens), how to build a zero grazing house (for cows) and which fertilisers to use (on your soil). Once we have these topics, we must find a shamba where we can find and film these topics. Often, 3 out of the 4 topics will be found on a shamba, yet without the final one, we cannot film here. These can cause for disappointment in farmers who are excited at the prospect of having their shamba shaped up!

In Homa Bay last week, we looked around several shambas before picking a young, orphaned farmer who is interested in increasing income via farming.

In Vihiga County, we went to check on a farmer from a previous series, who we visited last year. His shamba had become a hub for farmers looking for information and advice on farming, after coming a local Shamba Shape Up celebrity in the area. It is always great to see a farmer learn and take the advice and help we give them, and also use it to help their neighbours to do better also. The farmer had successfully sent his 5 children to school, and was interested in increasing his chicken flock after learning that chicken prices had soared during the Christmas time to over 2000ksh ($20) per bird!

Watch the episode where we visit the farmer in series 4: http://www.shambashapeup.com/viewepisode/99

We often visit farmers such as this in our re-visit episodes during the series, and they have some of most popular episode. Many of our viewers enjoy seeing how a small amount of change, money, research and hard work can produce huge results.

Watch one of our re-visit episodes from the last series: http://www.shambashapeup.com/viewepisode/110