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Article Index

Best-fit considerations 

Target groups 

The approach is appropriate for a wide range of people, including women and youth, and people in urban areas who are rarely in contact with extension services. For example, Shamba Shape Up reaches more women than men (66% female to 34% male). This is important as women are generally excluded from traditional training and workshops. Women are able to view the TV shows directly, which reduces problems associated with inaccurate transfer of knowledge. It allows them to make informed decisions to adopt practices based on the information they receive from the show. It is also particularly useful for attracting the youth to view agriculture as an enterprise worth venturing into. 

It is not, however, appropriate for poor farmers who lack access to TV, or for those who may not understand the language in which the shows are broadcast. One solution is to record shows on DVD or flash drive and show them on projectors in rural areas, to reach viewers with no access to TV. They can also be translated into local languages if funding is available.

Innovations 

Edutainment TV is appropriate for a wide range of agricultural innovations. For example, Shamba Shape Up series 5 (1)
Mediae. 2015. SSU_Series_5_KAP_Report_2015.pdf. Kenya knowledge, attitude and practices survey report. Nairobi: Mediae Company.
 focused on innovations related to dairy practices, soil conservation, poultry, nutrition, financial literacy, planting and husbandry of sweet potatoes, tomatoes, sunflower, maize, rice, and other crops and enterprises. In one of the Hridoye Mati O Manush series, farmers in Bangladesh were introduced to new methods of crop diversification, composite farming, simpler ways of production, transportation, and marketing, in addition to avoiding having to deal with intermediaries. 

Edutainment TV shows can also be integrated with mobile phones and call centres to make them more interactive. Introducing competitions within a show can make it more attractive. A good example is Farmers Love Safety in Thailand, which features two opposing teams of farmers who compete over which group can produce the highest yields and the best quality harvest. Shows can also be uploaded on YouTube and packaged as DVDs for later use.

Context 

Edutainment TV shows are not available in many countries. Where they are available, people need to have access to TV services or the internet (assuming that shows are also available online). Research has shown that people in rural settings who do not own a TV often watch in community halls, bars, and other social places, or in friends’ and relatives’ houses. A 2010 study in Tanzania found that 41% of the population watches TV weekly. (8)
Murthey, G. 2011. Tanzanian media environment: current access, potential for growth and strategies for information dissemination. Washington, DC and Nairobi: Intermedia, The AudienceScapes Project.
 A high proportion of viewers are people from urban areas; however, about 38% of the urban population own farms in rural areas and/or may advise and provide inputs to rural relatives who farm. 

Governance 

Edutainment TV showing agricultural innovations can be implemented by a wide range of actors including the private sector, government, NGOs, and other development practitioners with an interest in educating viewers about improved farming techniques. In edutainment TV, the company or organisation producing the show has overall ownership rights to the show. But to safeguard the show’s credibility, it is important to involve relevant experts to ensure high-quality content. Thus strong and diversified partnerships are essential with research organisations, government departments, universities, and NGOs for capacity building and technical guidance, and with institutions that can offer financial support. The entity managing the show has to ensure all partners’ needs are met and everyone has an equal amount to gain from the partnership.

Evidence of impacts, sustainability, and scalability 

Edutainment TV shows have been demonstrated to have a positive impact in Kenya. An impact assessment by the University of Reading (9)
University of Reading. 2014. Assessing the impacts of Shamba Shape Up. Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, Mediae Ltd and University of Reading.
 found significant uptake of practices featured on Shamba Shape Up (Box 1), and increased incomes for farmers who watched the show. In 2014 it was estimated that the impact of Shamba Shape Up on the dairy sector in East Africa could be valued at US$24 million through increased milk production. The show has also helped to reduce postharvest losses and increase financial literacy. The impact assessment noted that for a new agricultural practice to be adopted, it needs to be viewed on TV between five and eight times. 

Financial sustainability is a major issue in edutainment. Initial establishment costs do need to be externally funded, but at later stages a profit-oriented business model may be developed by having agencies and service providers buy airtime and advertise their products. Farmed and Dangerous earns revenue from advertisements during the show. An effective business model will be scalable, sustainable, and based on clients’ needs – not necessarily true of services offered by donors free of cost. Shamba Shape Up currently earns about half its revenue from organisations funded by donor agencies promoting agricultural practices, and half from commercial companies that gain exposure by demonstrating their products and practices.