Reality TV ‘edutainment’ series Don’t Lose the Plot engages youth to see farming as a business through digital media and tools
As the average age of African farmers rises above 40 years, countries are faced with the question of how to cultivate the next generation of food growers. Knowing that youth are drawn to digital technologies and social media, the Mercy Corps Agrifin Accelerate (AFA) Program collaborated with the Mediae Company to develop a reality TV show – aimed at young people and supported by digital tools and services – to see if the use of television and technology-driven innovations could help engage more youth in farming as a business. Called Don’t Lose the Plot, the show aired in 2017 in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania drawing more than 3.4 million viewers – more than 60% of them aged 18-34. AFA developed an interactive, Web-based farm budgeting tool to accompany the show called Budget Mkononi, which turned out to be the show’s most popular social media feature and became a top trending topic on Twitter in Kenya. An AFA focus note, describes the show’s development and presents early findings based on the data analytics from its social media platforms.
Valerie Gwinner, (email@example.com), consultant with the AFA team