STARS: Strengthening African Rural Smallholders

Documenting the transformation of smallholder farmers through access to finance

STARS: Strengthening African Rural Smallholders

Documenting the transformation of smallholder farmers through access to finance

When we set out to document the Ethiopia implementation of The Strengthening African Rural Smallholders (STARS) program— a program designed by Cordaid to develop market systems to improve access to finance and markets for over 200,000 farmers— we used the well-known ‘most significant change’ method to capture notable successes in the program. Most significant change is a participatory approach to monitoring and evaluating change— participatory in that those who have been involved in an innovation process can tell their story in their own words, and also because they are involved in the analysis and sense-making process. 

At FIRMA, we prefer this method and apply it often because storytelling and giving voice to the often neglected are both specialty and passion for FIRMA.  


Here, our photographer Abel Gashaw, did a spectacular job of reportage-style photography of select subjects. This means capturing our subjects doing what they love most, and in their natural surrounding. Although the sun in Assela, Ethiopia is relentless, our cutting-edge technology and craftsmanship yielded in balanced and flattering images that were later produced into a photobook (see below).



The videos captured from the STARS project followed a specific shot-list agreed upon with the client, and tracked the progress and impact of the program through selected stories and subjects. 


STARS Project Closeout Films


We were very happy to have developed this photobook for our client, Cordaid, where the best of the images we captured were highlighted along with story-style captions developed by our Director of Content, Diana Yohannes. The photobook is a visual storyline of the program— enriched with stories and first-hand accounts— a perfect way to immortalize the massive impact the program had on smallholder farmers. 


Client Testimonial

For the Strengthening African Rural Smallholders (STARS) program, Cordaid contracted Firma Media and Communication PLC to document the most significant change stories in Oromia Region. This activity took place in the month ofJune 2021. We requested Firma to develop two videos and capture 50 high quality photos that demonstrate the key achievements of the program's efforts. The end products delivered by Firma are of high quality and fit the communication purpose our organization has. We appreciate the capabilities of Firma to deliver this in a relatively short period of time. We acknowledge that their team is skillful, communicates well, is very pleasant to engage with, and is flexible and committed to meet our requirements. Without these traits, we would not have gotten the high-quality end results we ended up getting. Based on these experiences, we highly recommend Firma Media and Communications PLC to anyone interested to work with them on similar assignments.
Oscar Geerts
STARS Ethiopia Country Lead


Fitsum Admasu

Abel Gashaw

Human Interest Story:
Diana Yohannes

Andualem Deressa

Zeruabel Regassa

Script Development and Editing:
Ayantu Duki

Translation and Subtitles:
Meti Ketema


PhotographyGraphics Design
Content Development