Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Cropping Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa

In order to help address the persistent issues of hunger and poverty across Africa, in 2010, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) launched a food security programme known as Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Cropping Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA). The eight-year programme, which is also supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), has worked with farming households in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania to apply ‘conservation agriculture’ techniques, such as intercropping, to increase the production of maize and legume crops for enhanced soil health and food security. 

Success stories for SIMLESA

At the end of 2017, WRENmedia was approached by CIMMYT, which requested communications and media coverage of the programme before it ended in June 2018. More specifically, WRENmedia worked to write and design one blog, two technical briefs, four impact stories and five country fact sheets focusing on the novel approaches and key achievements of the programme across the target countries. 

The impact stories provide personal accounts from farmers on their experiences with the project and were designed to increase awareness of SIMLESA’s results to a wider, more general audience.

Less ‘text-heavy’ country fact sheets were also produced to promote SIMLESA to a non-scientific audience and involved significant design work to include a variety of photos, infographics, and a map of the country regions in which the programme worked.

Conversely, the purpose of the technical briefs was to attract further funding from potential donors and as such, included more facts, figures and technical knowledge relating to, for instance, crop yield increases, technology adoption rates and the scaling and reach of the programme. The Kenyan impact stories were widely circulated by the local press and one media story on the programme as a whole was published in Spore magazine

“Thank you for all the hard work and for making SIMLESA colleagues appreciate how communications was important for their/our work. Now they want to invest and plan more communications products in the next phase.” – Genevieve Renard, head of communications at CIMMYT.

© 2018 by WRENmedia

All photos © Alamy Stock Photos