shamba-shape-up

Shamba Shape Up and the Use of Social Media

Shamba Shape Up is a reality style TV show designed to educate East Africa’s rapidly growing rural audience. The make over style show aims to give both farmer and the audience the tools they need to improve productivity and income on their farms. Each week the Shape Up team visit a different farm in a different area of the country. The team includes the film crew and a number of experts from partner organisations who specialize in the topics to be covered in the episode. The core of the series tackles issues surrounding livestock, poultry, crops and soil fertility. Other relevant topics include financial planning, solar power and harvesting rainwater.

The series is also supported online with a popular Facebook page which has around 44,500 fans, a Twitter page which has nearly 3,000 followers, a YouTube channel, and recently, a blog and Instagram. The interaction on the Facebook page is pretty impressive.

As well as online, viewers without internet or power can SMS a database and ask for information in the form of leaflets. These leaflets are posted to people free of charge once they SMS asking for them. So far 250,000 have been distributed. Recently, Shamba Shape Up has moved to mobile, with the starting of iShamba. iShamba is a mobile information service, which gives subscribers access to a call centre, SMS service, weather reports, farming tips and deals or advice form commercial partners.

Katharine MacMahon, Communications Officer for Shamba Shape Up said “The social media has been a great tool for us, with our Facebook page becoming a hub for farmers to get advice from either us or from other farmers on the group. We run regular competitions with our partners help, and also invite people to send in photos of their farm and get involved in discussions. In general, the Facebook page is farmer-focused.

In comparison, the Twitter page, which is much smaller, has more of a partner-focus. We interact with our partners and the information they have to offer much more on Twitter, with more of a complex nature (on the Facebook page, posts must not have words which are more than 7 letters long – keeping it easy to read for farmers who may be less educated).

Last month we held a Tweetchat on #TalkSoil, in the lead up to Global Soil Week, with the help of CIAT. It was successful in both discussing the issues surrounding soil health, and also to raise the profile of Shamba Shape Up in the agricultural community on Twitter. To increase the number of Twitter followers, we aim to tweet much more than we currently do, get involved with more discussions and tweet chats and engage more with #KOT (#KenyansOnTwitter – a huge hashtag in Kenya used by millions), and connect with more farmers here.”

The show is on TV in Kenya (4 million viewers), Uganda (2 million viewers) and Tanzania (4 million viewers). It was started in 2008, and became Kenya’s reality style TV show. It is the third “edu-tainment” production created by Mediae.

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Norwegian Asylum Seeker Quiz Show Parody

The Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) have just started a campaign to highlight the awful realities of many people who are rejected when seeking asylum.

A fictitious talent show, So You Think you Can Stay,tells the stories of the ‘contestants’ who are all based on real asylum cases that NOAD has engaged with through their legal aid service.

Mari Seilskjær, advisor at NOAS said “We want to show the stories of some of those who fled to Norway in our talent show. We will present people like Amir, who based on our experience, should be granted residence permit in Norway, but nevertheless has had his asylum application refused. Rejected asylum seekers represent a demographic that often gets negative attention by the media. We want to convey the stories of some of these people and show that many of these people have good reason to fear persecution in their homeland.”

The video reminds me of another very successful campaign in Norway produced by SAIH, Who Wants to Be a Volunteer. The film was produced pro bono by Fantefilm and took a total of three months to complete including planning, filming and editing. It is good to see development organisations experimenting with creative storytelling techniques to educate people about issues that are sometimes misrepresented by the national media.

Visit the campaign website for more information: SoYouThinkYouCanStay.com

 

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Nepal earthquake: how social media has been used in the aftermath

A lot has been written in recent years about the use of social media in disaster relief , in particular platforms such as Ushahidi which is used to crowdsource data and visualise incidents which enables real-time response from relief agencies.

I first heard about the earthquake in Nepal on Saturday 25th April 2015 via a direct message on Twitter about a colleague in Kathmandu being safe despite damage to his house. I was meant to be visiting two weeks later.

I watched the news unfold on Twitter that day with horror, as the death toll continued to increase. Netizens were sharing awful images of the destruction.  

Within hours of the earthquake Mark Zuckerburg had announced the launch of Facebook Safety Check, which is a tool created in 2014 to link people in disasters.  Similarly, Google Person Finder had been launched. That day my social media timelines were awash with charities that had reacted immediately and set up fundraising campaigns. Those fundraising campaigns both on and offline have continued. This drone footage by filmmaker Paul Borrud, shows the devastating results of the earthquake around Kathmandu, and has been used as a fundraising tool by UNICEF UK. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yir6ArRZY4o One interesting development a week after the earthquake was a Twitter account set up by the Nepalese Government National Emergency Operation Center, which started to tweet the official number of people who had died and who were injured. The account also announced advice on information such as access to clean water and the relief that was being received from around the world. This account helps raise awareness of the tremendous support from the national and international community. Similarly, the infographic below, produced yesterday, shows how UK aid has been spent 

The impact of social media in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake is merely a drop in the ocean, but it’s better than nothing. This excellent article on GlobalVoices written the day after the first earthquake, describes in more detail the global social media response to the disaster.

 

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Live video streaming and the potential for citizen journalism

There has been a lot of recent media coverage about the launch of two mobile live streaming apps, Meerkat and Periscope.

Periscope is Twitter’s live streaming app which will allow both public and private broadcasts and enables you to link your stream to Twitter and have it show up on the Periscope home screen. Alternatively live feeds can be private and only available to watch by people who have been invited. Periscope say on their website

“Just over a year ago, we became fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else’s eyes. What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation.”

There is not a lot of difference between Meerkat and Periscope, except that Meerkat lets you schedule broadcasts for a later date. Meerkat also automatically tweets a link to your broadcast. The other major difference is that Periscope allows viewers access to your stream for 24 hours after they have been broadcast. It does allow you to delete them if you don’t want to. For more on the differences between Meerkat and Periscope read this excellent summary.

So are there any benefits for social change and international development?

As Periscope say in their marketing collateral “What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine?” One of the major benefits I see is that anyone anywhere has the potential to live broadcast. High resolution video footage is now available on a wide range of camera phones. Many people around the world have ubiquitous internet connection and access in the developing world is increasing at a dramatic rate. The power of live streaming was recently demonstrated when Periscope was used to capture an explosion in New York’s East Village.

As with most technology there will be negatives as well as positives. Pornography and piracy are the two obvious examples. Let’s hope that there are more positive uses than negative.

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Using Snapchat for Social Good: UNICEF Case Study

One year after the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, UNICEF is using Snapchat to draw attention to the devastating impact of the conflict in the northeastern region of the country. It is the first large scale Snapchat campaign by an international NGO that I am aware of.

UNICEF claim that around 800,000 children have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict between Boko Haram, military forces and civilian self-defence groups.  The number of children running for their lives within Nigeria, or crossing over the border to Chad, Niger and Cameroon, has more than doubled in just less than a year.

UNICEF is using Snapchat to communicate the plight of the hundreds of thousands of children who are missing out on their childhoods.  They are working with leading Snapchat artists – including Shaun McBride, aka Shonduras – to tell the stories of the children who have fled the violence by sharing images based on drawings from children in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.  The artwork reflects what children miss from home and the atrocities they have endured, including seeing their parents and siblings killed, tortured or abducted.

The public is also being invited to help raise awareness, by sharing what they would miss the most if they were forced from home – either by sending a snap to UNICEF on Snapchat, or by posting messages on other social channels such as Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #BringBackOurChildhood. The hashtag has been shared widely and picked up by large media houses, but like #BringBackOurGirls is it just slacktivism or will it ultimately achieve anything other than raising awareness? I hope it does!

 

For more information visit UNICEF’s campaign Tumblr at bringbackourchildhood.tumblr.com

 

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