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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs