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.