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ASHC: as seen on TV!

2 March 2012

Shamba Shape-up

The African Soil Health Consortium partners have been working hard over the past few months to ensure that soil improvement messages are included in the new series of the popular television programme Shamba Shape Up.

The first episode in the new series of the award winning Shamba Shape Up will air on Saturday 10 March at 1:30 pm in Kenya on Citizen TV in English and on Sunday 11 March at 1:30 pm the Swahili version of same programme will be shown on the same channel. The first five episodes were filmed in Kikuyu and Machakos.

The format for the programme is simple. A group of experts descend on a shamba (shamba is Swahili for small farm) and work over a couple of days to apply practical solutions to the problems faced on the farm. It is a make-over programme for farms presented in a style which is both informative and entertaining. The emphasis is on showing different practical and accessible ideas and approaches that can bring about significant improvements in livelihoods, often at very low or even no cost.

The production company has booked newspaper adverts in the Nation on 10 and 11 March and Taifa Leo (in Swahili) on the 11 March. Promotional posters are also going out to farm shops and other locations to encourage people to watch Shamba Shape Up. There are also some teaser adverts going out on TV. It is anticipated that this marketing will help to attract audiences of 2-3 million.

Farmers who watch Shamba Shape Up and want more information about the technologies showcased can contact the production company for information via SMS or request an information sheet to be sent through the post. Usually around 2,000 information requests are received after a programme has been broadcast.

George Oduor, ASHC Project Manager, said:

“We were keen to explore Shamba Shape Up as a vehicle for disseminating information on soil management. The first programmes have been filmed in Kenya, where the production company is based, but we are in discussions about filming in northern Tanzania and possibly Uganda too as we have significant pilot activity in both locations.

A large part of the appeal of investing in Shamba Shape Up is the work the production team undertake to measure the impact of the messages incorporated in the television programmes. Comprehensive surveys are conducted before and after the broadcasts to map changes in knowledge, attitude and practice relating to soil fertility management techniques and the other technologies and approaches featured.

We will be in good company as a sponsor of Shamba Shape Up. Two ASHC partners are also investing in the programme: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) are using the series to promote seeds and the International Centre for Soil Improvement and Agricultural Development (IFDC) is promoting approaches to improved crop health.”

A further five programmes will include soil improvement messages as part of ASHC sponsorship of the series. ASHC will be able to post the films on soil improvement to their website and re-edited the material for training purposes or mobile applications.

The production company behind Shamba Shape Up, Mediae, secured a US$ 600,000 grant from the African Enterprise Challenge Fund to support the making of the current series. The original pilot was funded by DFID under the Research Into Use programme.

ASHC consortium lead officer: George Oduor, ASHC Project Manager.