Shamba Shape-Up

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Case Studies
Agriculture, Food Security, Nutrition
The Mediae Company
Resource Publication Date:
August, 2013
Content Format:

This is one of 50 Harvesting Nutrition project case studies. Harvesting Nutrition was a contest held in 2012 and 2013 that showcased active projects working to improve the impact of agriculture and/or food security on nutrition outcomes. Co-sponsors were SecureNutrition, Save the Children UK, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Learn More.

Project Description: ​

Shamba Shape-Up is an “edu-tainment” make-over style agricultural TV show reaching 10 million East Africans, created by Mediae, and the first of its kind in Africa. Aimed at the region’s rapidly growing rural audience, the show aims to give smallholder farmers the tools and information they desperately need and lack to improve productivity and income on their farms. The show covers farms in a range of agroecological zones, illustrating the techniques for each location and crop/livestock type so that the audience can easily understand and adopt the practice. The core of the series tackles issues surrounding livestock, poultry, crops, soil fertility and the home using experts from each sector. The series has interactive support services to increase the uptake of information - viewers can SMS to be sent a free information leaflet or link up with experts, and follow updates and video clips online and on mobiles. Through providing farmers with information, which is severely lacking in the region, we aim to improve their knowledge and capacities to allow them to be food secure and make a living from their, on average, one acre farm.

Impact of project: ​

The series is followed by intensive survey based research to work out how much the audience learnt, and what they did with that knowledge. Series 1 research, completed in 2012 (Series 2 and 3 research will take place in September 2013), showed that the program took TV from a poor source of agricultural information to a valuable source of trustworthy information, and 91% of the audience said the show was a good or very good source of information. In a later survey to explore impact on income (report to be released September 2013), 98% of the audience said that they had learnt something from the show. The Series 1 survey showed that 36% of the audience had adopted a practice they learnt from the show and applied it on their farm, the majority being in soil fertility (26%), poultry (25%) and dairy farming (18%). The recommendations were to use manure and fertiliser for soil fertility, improve chicken housing, feeding and healthcare and improve cattle health and nutrition respectively.  The latest survey shows initial increases in productivity as a result of adopting new practices – this productivity increase will improve the household’s income, but greater impact is on nutrition as most of the audience consumes their own produce (crop, eggs, meat or milk) at home. Therefore, more productivity means the household can eat better.

Why this project is a Good Practice example: ​

Most agricultural or food security interventions are constrained by budget and outreach – many focus on one or two areas in a country or region, directly reaching hundreds or thousands of people over a short (1-2 years usually) span. Shamba Shape-Up has proven that interventions (such as CCAFS's work in adaptation to climate change or CIP’s work on orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP)) can be scaled up to reach millions, without compromising on message, detail or quality. The impact of speaking to, and showing, people directly in their own homes how to plant seeds correctly or why OFSP are a good crop for family and livestock health cannot be underestimated. Instead of a few locations being the focus of an intervention, an entire region can learn about the different ways they can improve their farming, productivity and nutrition; this way the impact is much larger and farmer driven, rather than the usual top-down approach which falters at the end of an intervention project.

Impact Evaluation:

Impact evaluation in progress

Lessons Learned: ​

As the first of its kind on the continent, the size and interactivity of demand for and uptake of the show was unexpected. The first series was only 3 months long (half of a growing season) – following demand by the audience that the show be broadcast throughout the growing season, we now make 6 months worth and air in time with the growing season. This means farmers can watch how to thin and top dress at the right time in the season, so information is at the front of their mind. Furthermore, the level of demand for leaflets and use of the website and Facebook for downloading clips and information has been much higher than expected. We are looking at developing the web and mobile side more as a result. Secondly, with the inclusion of commercial partners as information providers (how to use their products, where, why and when) has come the problem of not being able to show the broad range of products available – hence the show can be in danger of being an advertising channel. We are exploring avenues for funding to allow us to remove the commercial partners as a result of this. Thirdly, in Kenya many shows have to pay the broadcaster to be aired, which is a reversal of roles. This increased the costs of the first and second series, but we managed to negotiate to stop payments and continue broadcast once the show had a proven, large audience.



Funders: The McKnight Foundation, AGRA, KAPPAP, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISTAT)

Primary Contact: Rhoda Azikoyo Nungo, Community products development and dissemination

Country: Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda

Project Dates: 2006 to 2010; 2010 to 2014;

Interventions: Assess the context at the local level, Target the vulnerable and improve equity, Facilitate production diversification, Improve processing, storage and preservation, Expand markets and market access for vulnerable groups, Incorporate nutrition promotion and education,

Target Population: Rural farmers, Women farmers,

Project Stage: Ongoing activities

Geographic Coverage: Regional