This week marks the launch of My Children, a radio drama series that aims to engage farmers in an interactive debate about traditional varieties of sweet potato and the more nutritious and Vitamine A containing, orange-fleshed alternative.
Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
Nearly one in every three pre-schoolers in Uganda lacks vitamin A, and a quarter of their mothers do as well. This can result in impaired immunity and eye damage leading to blindness and even death. And this can all be minimized with a small change in the food that mothers and their children eat, by consuming Orange Sweet Potatoes. OFSPs are packed with beta-carotene, an important source of vitamin A. One small, 150-gram serving of OFSP can meet a five-year-old child’s daily requirement of vitamin A. Nevertheless, in rural Uganda, the new potato’s superpowers are relatively unknown.
To raise awareness, collect data and educate Ugandan people about the effectiveness of OFSPs, TRAC FM, Harvest Plus and Farm Radio teamed up. My Children is a mini drama-serie, broadcasted in six languages by ten radio stations in Uganda, reaching 350,000 households in 13 districts. The drama is a story about love, domestic strife, money, power, and, of course, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Florence, the heroine of the series, struggles to grow enough nutritious food to feed her family, and knows that her children are not as healthy as they could be. She reluctantly decides to give OFSP a try. But first she has to stop her money-obsessed husband from selling the family farming plot to fund a foolish “business idea.”
The drama serie combines health and agricultural education with an entertaining plot. Following each five-minute episode, participating radio stations ask listeners a question: ‘Who do you support? The Husband or the wife?’ or ‘What would you suggest Florence to grow?’ Millet, Matoke, Orange sweet potato or Casave?’
Farm Radio produced the ongoing drama story, Harvest Plus provides research backing and funding and TRAC FM is responsible for the interactive part of the show, providing a platform whereby listeners can participate ‘realtime’ in the drama. Trough the platform listeners can participate through free SMS by answering questions. Incoming replies are instantly visualized for the presenter who can give feedback on results within his show. This method greatly engages the audience in the Drama series. Simultaneously, the voting systems provided by TRAC FM also measures knowledge acquisition and impact of the show. See the results on our website, for example at: http://www.tracfm.org/p/view/480/
To learn more about this and other TRAC FM projects, or to arrange interview with individuals involved in the project, please contact:
Wouter Dijkstra, Director TRAC FM
Photos can be found on the Facebook page of TRAC FM: www.facebook.com/TracFM
The English version of this episode’s script, and a recording of it in Luganda, can be found here.
For more information about the related NGOs, visit:
HarvestPlus: www.harvestplus.orgFarm Radio: www.farmradio.org