Notes to broadcasters
Save and edit the full 5-part drama. (Word document, 300 KB)
Beans, a family affair is a five-episode drama about a group of women who persevere against difficulties to achieve success. The women belong to a village savings or vicoba group in Tanzania, and all of them grow common beans. Women do most of the field work for common beans. But, because of the traditional gender roles in their community, men make all the post-harvest decisions, including selling the beans and controlling the income.
A few of the major female characters in the drama, including Farida and Mama Mjuni, take the lead on this endeavour. They encourage the women to work together on their farms, and finally to grow beans together to market as a group to the village bean factory.
The drama takes place against a backdrop of dramatic situations, including conflicts between women and men: domestic abuse in one family, and the underhanded efforts of a village womanizer to both manipulate women and profit from criminal activities.
There are light, funny moments in the drama too, though it covers serious themes. If you produce the drama with a local group, ensure that the more serious moments are balanced with the lighter scenes of friends reminiscing and laughing.
Each of the five episodes is approximately 20-25 minutes long, including intro and extro music. Because the episodes are long, you might want to air only two or three scenes at a time in your program. In most cases, two or three episodes take 6-8 minutes.
You could follow up the drama with a call-in program that discusses some of the issues raised in the program, inviting male and female experts on the issues. Discussions could include:
- how the community divides the work involved in growing and marketing common beans, or other crops grown in your area, and how this might be biased against women’s interests, and may even hurt the family;
- domestic abuse and the culture or habit of silence that allows it to continue; and
- the kinds of support men can offer women who are struggling to help themselves and their families in difficult situations.
[Editors’ note: shikamoo is the respectful greeting of a younger person to an older person in Swahili, and marahaba is the response from the older person that acknowledges that respect.]
I have to say that when mama Mjuni asked me to come and speak with you, I was so thrilled. I think you are all truly setting an example to women elsewhere by working together.
239. LYDIA: The first thing we must understand—and this is very important—is that we shouldn’t get rid of the residues—the stalks and the roots—of previously planted common beans just yet.
Another important thing is to plant seeds of improved varieties. Here in Tanzania, high quality improved seeds include Njano Uyole, Lyamungu 90, and Rozi koko/ kitenge. Because high quality seeds will increase your chances of a good harvest, are less susceptible to disease, and have a high value in the marketplace. Please avoid damaged or wrinkled seeds and seeds from diseased plants because they might be diseased also.
Okay now, the last question before we go for a break … can anyone name the advantages of correct spacing for common beans?
Contributed by: Kheri Mkali, script writer, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Reviewed by: Frederick Baijukya, agronomist and N2 country coordinator for Tanzania, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), East Africa Hub, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
This work was carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada, www.idrc.ca, and with financial support from the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada, www.international.gc.ca