Assessing the impact of Shamba Shape Up

Shamba Shape Up (SSU) is a make-over educational TV programme broadcast on Citizen Television, in 39 weekly 30 minute instalments throughout the main cropping season in Kenya.

Each episode is broadcast twice a week (on the same day) once in Swahili and once in English. Each weekly instalment consists of a visit to a selected farm (shamba) where current issues and problems facing that farmer and household are discussed, and solutions and opportunities identified with the help of experts. Potential changes to the farm enterprises are explored through demonstration and explanation. For example a recent programme showed how to construct a simple dairy shed so that stall feeding and milking could be more efficiently carried out. Another illustrated the effects of stem borer in maize and provided advice on how to control this pest. And another provided instruction on how to correctly space a new planting of banana.  Yet another installed an improved clay cooking stove (more burners, less smoke and less fuel wood) in the farmer's kitchen. The decision on whether to take up any of the advice rests with the farmer. In some cases, a contribution to the costs of making changes to effect solutions is paid by SSU.

A substantial body of information and empirical data about SSU exists mostly derived from sample surveys. The reliability of these data is variable and largely unknown because sample designs and sampling procedures did not allow selection bias to be estimated. Nevertheless, they do raise relevant questions about the nature and extent of the influence of SSU that can be explored through the proposed impact study and are briefly summarized below to provide context.

A study of SSU by InterMedia was based on two sample surveys in March and June 2012, each with about 800 smallholder respondents. The first preceded the first broadcast of SSU and the second followed the last of the 13 episodes in the first SSU series. The surveys covered a range of high and low potential areas and the two samples were separately selected (i.e. the respondents in the surveys were different). The second sample was structured to comprise at least 50% SSU viewers. The data from these surveys are available to the present study.

A workshop was held at the end of the study, where findings and a preliminary report were presented and discussed. CDI coordinated and facilitated this meeting. This workshop was synchronised with peer review which was coordinated by CDI.

CDI also provided oversight and quality assurance throughout the research. This entails assistance in the form of:

  • Agreement on Quality Standards;
  • Understanding of and agreement on the purpose of the impact evaluation;
  • Input on technical aspects of the evaluation (design evaluation, quantitative and qualitative research design, survey questionnaire plus protocols for qualitative study, fieldwork organisation, evaluation report outline and formats, evaluation findings);
  • Feedback on evaluation progress;
  • Feedback on communication and utilisation of the evaluation;
  • Overseeing the peer review aspect of the study;
  • Report on quality and objectivity.