Hello readers. It’s “bean harvest time” in my village, and everybody including yours truly has been busy plucking beans, drying, and pounding the dried pods with poles before winnowing to separate the grains from the chaff. Children have not been left behind; they’ve been enjoying their “musoka” snack (fresh green beans boiled in pods).
Let’s have this as a story for another day and get back to today’s business.
We also had a suffocating schedule in the month of May where we attended three farmers’ field day exhibitions organized by the Anglican Development Services (A.D.S) to celebrate their 25 years of service to the community. It is these exhibitions in Busia, Bungoma, and Kakamega counties where the Kataru Concepts/SAWBO network in Kenya showcased the various animated videos that inspired this blog.
What interested me most in these exhibitions was farmers’ incessant quest for knowledge and the unending thirst for digital content like what SAWBO provides in animated videos. Most farmers confirmed they had read about SAWBO videos from our blogs, watched them on KTN FARMERS TV, and encountered them on YouTube whenever they browsed for information. A majority of our stall visitors were elated to finally meet “the SAWBO team” in person, right in their villages, and ready to serve them in their local languages and dialects. Knowing the importance of language, I was careful to select local network members who spoke the local languages and dialects to man our stalls!
During the exhibitions, my team noted certain common reactions, questions, and requests we’ve been encountering during our sessions with farmers, health workers, traders, and structured groups in other sessions. These observations pointed to one conclusion; “there is an upsurge in the quest for digital content, information, and knowledge that can better general practices in all fields within our communities”.
The following is a sample of groups of people and what they were appreciating and requesting most in digital content;
Most Kenyans are either practicing farmers or farming enthusiasts. It doesn’t matter whether one lives in rural, peri-urban, or urban neighborhoods. One common trend with most families is that no matter where they live, they have farms back in their rural homes where they practice mixed farming and have a family member, relative, or farm manager taking care of business.
For that matter, everybody was interested in existing content on how to locally manufacture pocket-friendly farm inputs like organic fertilizers and pesticides, content on improved farming practices, and preserving farm produce. Other farmers requested content on conservation farming and other environmental management procedures.
Most traders who visited our stalls were keen on grain handling videos, preservation procedures, and bulk grain handling. I remember one trader, after watching the jerrycan bean storage video challenged us to consider her case where she has several bags of grains in storage and was wondering how such large quantities could be stored in jerrycans. My team was quick to encourage the farmer to consider using Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags (PICS bags) for post-harvest loss prevention of grains and legumes harvest requiring several bags.
Incidentally, three in every 10 rural women, are most likely to be community health volunteers (C.H.V). These great men and women expressed their joy in knowing how to access SAWBO content which they’d love to use while doing their household visits. Those who’ve used SAWBO videos previously said it made their work easier than carrying only pamphlets, charts, and brochures done in either English or Kiswahili. They requested a SAWBO App that would allow them direct access to the video library in order to download the videos they wanted to use. My team assured them that a deployer App was in the pipeline and would be launched soon.
Extension service providers.
Another group of visitors we received was agricultural extension officers employed by both county and national governments. Just like the farmers, these officers confessed they had also read about SAWBO content in our blogs, watched it on KTN FARMERS TV, and encountered them on YouTube.
Besides using SAWBO animation videos to educate their clients, most officers said they’ve been wondering how to get to the video library without going through the website. Just like the health workers, they agreed that a video deployer App would be a great idea that would improve the uptake of SAWBO content in their communities.
Other content requests. Other digital content requested by the farmers included videos on more farming practices including dairy farming, goat farming, fish farming, rabbit farming, more videos on poultry farming, and content on the agricultural value chain. Given the many requests outlined above, my team came to the conclusion that our community had definitely heard of and was using SAWBO content in everyday life. We were convinced that SAWBO was a unique digital content provider with a following and preference in the community. This encouraged us to grow our network further by embarking on organized sessions with members of the farmers, health workers, agricultural extension officers, and trader groups