Mass media for good is not an oxymoron! A reality show giving sustainability tips
Shamba Chef is a reality television and radio series focused on cooking and nutrition. The show is filmed in real households with mothers as the primary focus. The stories they tell of the challenges faced in the kitchen are common to families across the country as 80% of the Kenyan population uses polluting fuels for cooking, 35% of Kenyan children are stunted and millions are nutrient deficient.
Shamba Chef has been created to address these critical issues through informative and educational entertainment. The show highlights the dangers and discomforts of cooking with inefficient, polluting stoves and fuels and raises awareness about solutions. It also introduces families to nutritious recipes and provides practical tips for sustainable farm and food management.
By sharing the experiences of real Kenyan women in the kitchen, Shamba Chef inspires Kenyans to make changes to their cooking practices and diets, thereby improving the health and well-being of their families. By gaining access to cleaner and more efficient cookstoves and fuels, women also have more time to engage in other productive activities that lead to greater economic empowerment and gender equality. Scaling up clean cooking also combats global air pollution and climate change.
The 13 part TV series aired weekly from September to December 2017 on Citizen, Kenya’s most popular TV station, in both English and Swahili. It attracted an average of 3 million viewers per week and was rated the most popular TV show in its time slot on Sunday afternoons. Each episode was adapted for a weekly radio series broadcast on national radio and audience were invited to subscribe to a free interactive mobile platform called iChef to access more information. Over 40,000 SMS were received and 17,500 viewers have subscribed to the service. High audience figures show evidence of an excitement in the show, demonstrating how mass media storytelling can stimulate interest and inspire aspiration and change. Mediae is looking for partners and funders to work with them to develop the concept, and build on the show’s following, to create multiple series to be broadcast annually.
The impact of the program will continue to grow as households are empowered by giving them the information they need to take action to accelerate adoption of cleaner energy solutions and better nutrition. Reaching people at scale with evidence based, informative, yet also entertaining and motivating content, can have a transformational impact in making progress toward the SDGs across the globe.