Breaking new ground with SAWBO animations

by James Kamuye Kataru

It’s October 1, 2023 and the much-awaited “El-Nino” rains are finally here with us. Kenya had been put on high alert and citizens interpreted the situation according to their past experiences. But to farmers, the news left them with mixed emotions. Some didn’t know whether to plant long season crops or continue with the preparation of the usual short season crops.

In the last three years our network of volunteers and groups in the coastal region have been disseminating animation videos from the health category of the SAWBO library. With the establishment of our office at Ganja la Simba in Ukunda, Kwale county, several farmer groups, and individuals have been identified for indulgence in online and face to face sessions which will take place at our office. There will also be follow-up farm visits to establish the uptake of knowledge.

Kataru Concepts Africa staff and volunteers pushing the scaling of SAWBO animations in the coast region of Kenya.

Crops these communities plant and practices that would benefit them

One of the coastal communities we are working with is the Mijikenda. The Mijikenda are known for their unique cuisines and way of life defined by the food they grow and consume. For us to succeed in disseminating SAWBO animations, we chose not to divert from the norms but center our programs on the most grown and consumed food. These include maize, rice, beans, cowpeas, cassava, sweet potato, bananas, and assorted vegetables.

We plan to disseminate content on basic agricultural functions like proper land tilling, manure, and compost preparation, pest management, post-harvest loss management, and a hoard of other practices that work for all grains and foodstuffs grown or even imported from outside the region to help maintain quality and fetch better prices. 

 An elaborate program has been drawn to facilitate an increase in the uptake of farming animations in the region. The newly established Kataru Concepts Africa office at Ganja la Simba village in Ukunda, Kwale County, will coordinate activities in the region as follows:

  1. House the upcoming Kataru TV which shall air programs on farming and the uptake of SAWBO content by our members.
  1. Provide free Wi-Fi connectivity and internet hot-spots for locals and help CBOs, self-help groups, farmers, and other leaders who wish to access the internet and arm themselves with content to improve their practices.
  1. Create space for face-to-face training sessions which can comfortably hold up to 50 farmers. We intend to host more groups and train them on accessing, downloading, watching and sharing SAWBO animations.
  1. Set up demo farms at the center. Additionally, we are  in the process of setting up more in different villages across the region. These farms will feature a number of SAWBO animation video demonstrations which will make it easy for visiting farmers to see what they learn in practice.

Groundnuts (left) maize (middle) and cassava on the demo site at the new office.

  • Run a radio talk show. We have agreed with a local FM radio station to run the first radio talk show on Kataru Concepts Africa and SAWBO for free in the first week of October 2023. This will enhance our entry into the region as well as help the dissemination of content since the station broadcasts in nine local Mijikenda languages (Chonyi, Kambe, Duruma, Kauma, Ribe, Rabai, Jibana, Giriama, and Digo) and Swahili.  

In essence, any entry into a new area, community, or system must be preceded by preparations and timelines that help guide programs and projects and gauge the overall output. We all hope that by so doing, we are establishing permanent relations with a community in which we intend to swell  and become part of.

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