News / Africa

Reality TV Show Helps Farmers Improve Livelihoods

Jill Craig
Inspired by the popularity of American and British home makeover shows, a television producer in Kenya has created a farming reality show that is helping farmers in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania do a better job.  The program now has more than seven million viewers. 

Entertaining, educating audiences

David Campbell has lived in Kenya since 1979, using the mass media to teach farmers how to improve their techniques.  As director of the company Mediae, Campbell aims to both educate and entertain his audiences.

After learning that 70 percent of the viewers for his popular TV drama "Makutano Junction" came from rural areas, Campbell created a farm makeover show, called "Shamba Shape-Up."  He says that while research projects and development programs may help a small group of farmers, his unique programming has a much wider impact.  

“Here, we have a TV show that can reach seven or eight million people in the region, who are in the cash economy, who can participate in this kind of work.  And they’re not being reached.  And that’s why the underscore of this whole thing is that we need to reach people because development will happen when people know what they can do and how they can participate,” stated Campbell.

True to life TV

Each episode begins with a farmer explaining his or her agricultural problems to the program’s presenters and experts.  The team provides advice and assists the farmer with planting, harvesting, pest eradication, livestock care, and even financial literacy.  At the end of the show, viewers can send a text message to receive a leaflet about the information discussed during the episode.

Presenter Tony Njuguna says the show is providing valuable expertise to rural East Africans.  And he says that's evident when his team returns to see how things have been going.

“We find that most of them have developed.  They are no longer wherever they used to be.  They have moved up and it’s quite impressive,” said Njuguna.

George Karawe Mungai participated in the first season of "Shamba Shape-Up" and is now doing a follow-up episode.  He says the show has allowed him to increase his farm’s productivity.

Mungai has even become a bit of a celebrity.  He says when he travels around, people address him as “Shamba Shape-Up.”  And he says his neighbors are also benefiting from the show.

“I’ve become almost a teacher to the society that is surrounding.  They come here, they ask me questions, I am able to teach them on how to do things,” added Mungai.

"Shamba Shape-Up" highlights approximately 13 farms each series.  It is broadcast weekly in English and Kiswahili throughout Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs