Kenyan farmers use climate 'entertainment' for empowerment

Shamba Shape-Up mixes education with entertainment to address the biggest challenges faced by farmers on a daily basis.

One important question for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is how to reach farmers, in order to give them relevant information on how to cope with climate change. The innovative East African TV program Shamba Shape-Up may provide some empowering solutions.

Every week during the planting season, the program suggests cheap and sustainable ways for farmers to improve their ‘shambas’ (farms) in a way that Shamba Shape-Up producer calls “edutainment,” or education mixed with entertainment. The improvements proposed by the show address the biggest challenges faced by farmers on a daily basis.

In the latest  episode of the second season, the program synthesizes all the climate change information that they have gathered over the course of the season, which includes how climate change affects farmers, and how adaptations can help them. Here CCAFS has played a part in providing key climate change information and research to the program.

Travelling to different parts of Kenya, Shamba Shape-Up hosts and TV celebrities Tonny Njuguna and Naomi Kamau listen to farmers’ struggles with climate change. Unpredictable weather leaves farmers with little to no water, infertile soil and land degradation. These complications make it difficult for farmers to grow crops and feed their livestock.

After summarising climate change adaptations that they covered throughout the season, Tonny and Naomi revisit some of the farms that they helped to show how using adaptations has helped farmers to improve their livelihood. This was a great conclusion to Shamba Shape-Up’s popular second season.

In the words of farmer Bright Kadenge in a message to the Shamba Shape-Up team, “Loved the summarised show over the weekend. Served as an excellent refresher for all the work you have done this season.”

Shamba Shape-Up’s audience has now reached an audience of over 11 million in East Africa. It is a great example of how social learning can be used to link farmer concerns with research that will help them make it through droughts and erratic weather patterns.

Read related Shamba Shape-Up stories on our blog:
- Interview: Successful 'fast-food' agricultural knowledge in the making
- Farmers get latest solutions for climate 'shape-up
- Download the Shamba Shape Up Report summarizes findings on audience knowledge, attitudes and practices in Kenya.

 Manon Verchot is a Communications Intern based in Nairobi, with CCAFS' Theme 4.1: Linking Knowledge with Action. Get the latest updates from East Africa by following them on Twitter: Cgiarclimate_ea.

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