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Could you be a maharage bingwa?

One of the first practical outcomes from the Legume Alliance write-shop in Arusha last week is the term Maharage bingwa. For anyone not familiar with Kiswahili it means champion bean.

We wanted to find a key term that all of the campaign partners could use. This is about more than bringing sense of cohesion to the campaign. It is an attempt to help us track the campaign in future months.

By using the term maharage bingwa in all our materials we can test awareness of the term when we are trying to measure the impact of the messages. Measuring the impact of any activity is a huge challenge – especially so in development contexts.

We borrowed this idea from fataki sexual health campaign in Tanzania in Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick. By naming a change you want to see, it is easier to get buy in for the concept. In our case a maharage bingwa would be someone who grows improved varieties of beans with appropriate fertilizer.

The first time we see the term used at scale will be in the August of edition of Shujaaz. A few weeks ago the Shujaaz team traveled to Rombo, Useri to interview Liberati John Mushi. Shujaaz is in the process of going to scale in Tanzania. It is different from Kenya in that it using a combination of photographs of real people interacting with the cartoon characters – in our story DJ-T is the interviewer.

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Draft text for the August edition of Shujaaz talking about how to approach growing beans

The photo-story strip is an interesting and innovative format. There seems to be some evidence that Tanzania young people need more convincing of entrepreneurial ideas and so seeing someone who is already succeeding seems to work better that the cartoon format in Kenya.

200,000 copies of Shujaaz will hit the streets in the first week in August. This is the time of the Nane Nane agricultural shows when people are really starting to think about what to grow the following season. So this is great timing for us. Let’s hope we recruit lots of bean champions.

Shujaaz has been funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the young people’s media platform in Tanzania.