As the new series kicks off on TV in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, new developments are happening off the screen to, with the start of our brand new radio show!
The show, which runs on Kenyan station Citizen Radio and is in Swahili, is on every week day at 9.30pm for 7 minutes. Each episode is therefore split into 5 parts, playing every night Monday to Friday. The show has been solely sponsored by USAID.
The show follows a similar layout to the TV show, and in many places the audio has simply been lifted from the TV recordings, often with noises and sounds added under the voices to add realism to it – the odd clucking of a chicken or a cow mooing! Shamba Shape Up’s radio program visits a family each week, helping them to shape up their shamba and get more crops, milk, meat and eggs for the family.
The show was chosen to be recorded in Swahili, rather than English, to capture a larger rural audience. These people often do not have access to a more reliable electricity supply or a TV set, and therefore lack vital information to agricultural information. In a country where there is only 1 extension officer for every 1000 Kenyan citizen, getting reliable, up to date and effective information that will benefit your shamba is hard to find.
Radio Citizen has the highest national reach in Kenya, reaching nearly 9 million people each week, far more than any other radio station in the country, of which Kenya has many. When, between 1998 – 2002, the Moi government was constitutionally forced to relax their tight hold over state-led media and open up the airwaves to allow freedom of the media, a whole host of radio stations popped up, making it hard to get a large audience on one single station – it is for this reason that Mediae (the production company), and Shamba Shape Up have been wary of moving onto radio before.
Listeners of the show can still use the vastly popular SMS service run by Shamba Shape Up. Over the past 4 series of the show on TV, hundreds of thousands of SMS have been sent to our short code, 30606, for more information from the show for free.
All the episodes will be available online after broadcast, and can be listened to right here.
Tune in to learn more…
Last month, Shamba Shape Up held a competition in conjunction with ICRAF to get more farmers involved in understanding the importance of trees on their farms.
Often, farmers cut down trees on purpose to create more space for growing on their shamba. In their eyes, more space = more money. However, cutting down trees can lead to detrimental effects, even leading to a loss rather than a gain. Trees can provide shade for plants and grass when the weather is hot, can provide health to the soil by nitrogen fixing, holding soil in place and stopping erosion, make fodder for animals, and provide long term money in the form of wood for timber.
In light of this, Shamba Shape Up and ICRAF came together to hold a competition on the Shamba Shape Up 43,000 strong Facebook page to ask them ‘Trees are important on my shamba because….’
We had over 120 responses, from all over the East Africa region, weighing in with why they thought trees were crucial to their shamba. In the end, we chose a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, Lucy, Esther and Maryann, and invited them to join ICRAF at their Nairobi nursery to collect their prize.
The winners were excited to have been invited and told us a little more about themselves, including who they were, where they lived and where their shamba was located. Each winner chose a sapling and seed they would be interested in, after help discussing with ICRAF what would suit their needs and area.
The winners were then presented with a beautiful goodie bag which had different species of seeds, a book on how to start and manage a tree nursery, a notebook and pen, an ICRAF calendar and seedlings of their choice.
Congratulations to all at ICRAF for making it such a great event and to all the Shamba Shape Up farmers who entered!
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.
Hortinews Kenya has recently written about Shamba Shape Up and its involvement in agriculture in Kenya. The article focuses around our involvement with orange fleshed sweet potatoes through our previous sponsor CIP.
CIP, who came onto the show with us for series 4, have been spreading the word about OFSP across East Africa by letting farmers and families know about the health benefits of the vegetable; only a small amount of OFSP each day can help reach the total vitamin A needed. This is especially useful for children and old people – many children suffer from a lack of vitamin A which can stunt their grown and harm their eyesight.
CIP’s involvement with the show meant that many more farmers in the region were able to learn about the new variety and were able to contact them with questions and advice.
The article provides an interesting insight into OFSP growing in the area, with a focus on Shamba Shape Up from Page 20.
We asked a partner from Series 4 to tell us about their experiences working with Shamba Shape Up. Here CCAFS lets us know their thoughts.
The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) theme Linking Knowledge with Action (K2A) believes that in order to successfully support smallholders adapting to and mitigating climate change, there’s a need for organisations and research in development programs to embrace innovative approaches to both research design and communication.
The research theme’s own objective is to identify ways to catalyze action from knowledge and research through building an evidence-base of innovative approaches to achieve food security and agricultural development under climate change. These innovative ways can include everything from collaborating with TV and radio channels, or using mobile phones and text-message services to share information and engage with farmers; developing participatory and social learning approaches in research projects; or engage with the private sector and other non-traditional actors to reach key users.
The K2A theme, along with the rest of the CCAFS program, goal is to have thousands to millions of farmers adapt to an increasingly variable climate through adopting climate-smart agriculture practices. One strategy for achieving this ambitious goal has been to partner with the private company Mediae and its hit agriculture makeover TV-show Shamba Shape Up (SSU).
Communicating climate-smart agriculture across East Africa
Through the unique two-year partnership with Mediae, CCAFS and its international agricultural research centre partners, including International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and International Potato Centre (CIP), have been able to share information about climate-smart farm practices, the latest agriculture research results while lending diverse experts showing practical solutions to problems articulated by farmers, during the SSU TV episodes. This has allowed CCAFS and partners to reach many more farmers than otherwise possible (we’re talking millions of farmers here!).
The Shamba Shape Up approach goes beyond training and information sharing and includes up-beat discussions, music and lots of laughter. At the same time, the presenters make sure participating farmers feel comfortable as they place their livelihoods in the hands of the make-over team. This is something CCAFS K2A team has really enjoyed seeing, and believes it is a crucial part to the SSU success.
Farm makeover efforts with impressive results
The results from the work are going beyond the team’s expectations, as the viewers are really taken by the show, and have started to implement what they learn.
To start with, through watching the various recap episodes, it is clear that the farmers receiving a ‘makeover’ are sustaining the improvements, and indeed, even further developing the structures or practices they gained from participating in the show.
For example, Cecilia and Philip, a farm couple from a dry area in Kenya, constructed a water pan together with the SSU presenter duo and received information about tree planting. After the makeover, they are now thinking about adding irrigation to the construction as well as planting more trees, making them more resilient to variable rainfall patterns. Learn more: These are some of the impacts an agriculture TV-show can have.
A 2013 impact evaluation report on the TV-show found that 98% of viewers reported having learned something new, such as techniques in livestock management to practices that improve soil quality. The same study found that 86% of the viewers also incorporated the new practices they learned into their livelihood strategies.
Similarly, when the CCAFS K2A team interviewed smallholders watching the show in Machakos County in Kenya earlier this year, they found that farmers were adopting technologies as diverse as rainwater harvesting, irrigation and agroforestry, which they have learned from watching the TV-show. While making improvements on their own farms, viewers said they are also sharing their new knowledge with neighbouring farmers and community members, further expanding the reach of Shamba Shape Up.
CCAFs is also pulling its weight to promote and scale out the work of SSU through sharing the episodes found on Youtube with local NGO’s in the East Africa region, that in turn show them to their members in convenient venues where people gather regularly, such as community halls and churches.
The program looks forward to continuing to see the results from their partnership with Shamba Shape Up unfold, as more farmers, particularly women, take up climate-smart agriculture practises and techniques over the coming years.
Read and learn more about CCAFS and its collaborations with Shamba Shape Up:
Photo credits: C Schubert (CCAFS)
BOX: What is climate-smart agriculture? Climate-smart agriculture is an integrative approach to address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, through:
- sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;
- adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).