Notes to broadcasters
In many developing countries, malnutrition, hunger and poverty are common. Kenya is on the brink of being ravaged by these same problems. Citizens remain very vulnerable to hunger. In places where there is little land for agriculture, some farmers have given up farming.
“Hanging gardens” is the name given to crops grown in synthetic or sisal sacks filled with soil. Plants are grown on the sides of the sacks. It’s amusing how plants hang from the sides of the sack gardens! The idea of using hanging gardens to grow food comes at a time when many smallholder farmers are desperate about their future. Food insecurity is one of the consequences of land shortages. Therefore, this innovative way of maximizing land use is of great use to any society faced with a shortage of agricultural land.
This script is based on real characters from the slum area of Kibera. These people give us an insight into the solutions to landlessness in Kenya. Malnutrition amongst poor people in urban centres and villages together with poverty are the major issues addressed in this script. It also addresses the issue of gender imbalance in families. Women with whom the writer spoke confessed that their husbands wanted to stop them from coming up with solutions to malnutrition and poverty. But these women manage to rise above the actions of their husbands and prove their innovativeness.
This script is based on actual interviews. You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on a similar topic in your area. Or you might choose to produce this script on your station, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.
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According to a report released by the International Food Policy Research Institute on World Food Day in 2009, many people in the developing world are faced with severe famine. If we sit down, worry and don’t do anything about it, the situation is bound to get worse. But there is good news for those without enough farmland. The hanging gardens system of farming is one of the tested solutions to the problem. The method has brought happiness and hope to urban and landless rural farmers. Stay tuned for more about hanging gardens.
Gospel song with theme of hope for tomorrow
We are talking about hanging gardens.
In slums, there is no land for cultivation. The little space available between houses is very small and usually paved over. Yet people from the slums, the majority of whom are women, have managed to produce enough sukuma wiki for their own consumption and for sale in their neighborhoods.
Hanging gardens grow vegetables in synthetic or sisal sacks filled with soil and organic materials. The sacks stand on the ground. Where the land is sloping, the sacks are supported with stones at their bases so that they can stand firmly on the ground. The larger the sack, the larger the number of sukuma wiki it can grow. Sukuma wiki seedlings are planted in holes drilled in the sides of the sacks. An average sack stands approximately five feet high. To make sure that the soil in the sacks does not dry out, it is recommended that white sacks be used. White sacks reflect the sun’s heat and decrease evaporation.
About fifty sukuma wiki plants can be grown in a single sack.
Our reporter takes us to a group of women from Kibera, west of Nairobi. These women grow sukuma wiki on their doorsteps using the new system christened the Hanging Gardens of Kibera.
Ruth and Kerubo are pioneers of the system. They will share their experiences with our reporter.
Sounds of strong winds, iron sheets clattering, women murmuring and children playing
Voices of women silencing interrupting children
All burst into laughter
Sound of leaves of sukuma wiki being plucked
They all laugh
Gospel music about the beauty of Eden
Presenter: Well, you have heard it from Ruth and Kerubo. Their great determination and willpower to see their families get a better diet and a little cash has borne good and admirable results, thanks to hanging gardens.
You too can benefit from hanging gardens. You can make good use of a small piece of land to grow as many crops as you can. For better results, remember these three important things: first, keep the sacks well-ventilated. Secondly, keep the plants well-watered and sprayed with safe pesticides and fungicides to prevent pests and diseases. Above all, remember that hanging gardens are best suited for crops like sukuma wiki, cowpeas, onions and other crops which do not have extensive root systems or don’t grow to heights greater than three feet.
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Presenter: What a great time it was talking about hanging gardens. Well, that is all the time we have today. If you have a question or a comment about today’s program, please feel free to write to this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can call direct on +254 720 576113.
Bye till next week same day same time for another exciting episode of your program Shambani. From me, Stanley Ongwae, it’s good bye and may you have an innovative day in your shamba (Editor’s note: Swahili word for “farm”).
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- Contributed by: Stanley Ongwae, Kisima Radio, Kenya.
- Reviewed by: FAO’s Office of Communications and External Relations (Media Branch).
- Thanks to: Arnold Ageta Omayio, Kisima Radio.
- Ruth Singori, Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya.
- Esther Kerubo, Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya
Both women were interviewed on October 15th, 2009.