COVID Response Spotlight: Development Media International (DMI)

COVID Response Spotlight: Development Media International (DMI)

DMI runs radio, TV and mobile campaigns to change behaviours and save lives in low-income countries. We have experienced in-country teams and strong relationships with Ministries of Health in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. DMI was approached in early April by four governments with requests for assistance and is now broadcasting in six of its countries of operation, with ambitions to expand broadcasting to all nine. The campaigns are based on DMI’s Saturation+ methodology, which have been proven through two randomised controlled trials to result in major changes in behaviour.

It is clear that this is a disease that affects everyone, whether directly or indirectly, and its course will be influenced by the extent to which people respect hand and respiratory hygiene guidelines, physical distancing and shielding of the vulnerable. A typical government response to an outbreak is to use standard communication channels, such as press announcements, national media outlets and a single national language. DMI’s added value is in helping governments to achieve a Saturation+ campaign, spreading messages more deeply and persuasively into the population. Our inputs are flexible, depending on government needs, but will draw from the following tools and capabilities:

  • Intensity: DMI’s Saturation+ methodology (broadcasting one-minute radio spots 6-10 times per day) has been shown to the highest scientific standards to result in behaviour change.
  • Distribution: DMI can roll out campaigns very quickly at national scale, using multiple local languages and optimizing the mix of national and community stations.
  • Collaboration: DMI is responding to the needs of government on a day-to-day basis, and is an active member of risk communications and community engagement (RCCE) networks.
  • Message enhancement: DMI brings communication and storytelling expertise, which drive behaviour change. It can conduct continuous feedback research to help refine messages as needed.
  • Addressing social norms: DMI’s campaigns are designed to shift social norms, including physical distancing and hand hygiene, which will be critical to the long-term response to the pandemic.
  • Technical precision: DMI is receiving direct support on our messaging content from Africa CDC and WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.
  • Evaluation: We have the capacity, working with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), to evaluate campaigns using mobile phone surveys.

DMI has created a Rapid Response Fund to allow it to respond flexibly to the needs of individual countries. Our aim is to raise $2.25 million to launch COVID-19 campaigns in all nine countries. We have already received support from donors such as GiveWell, the Mulago Foundation, the Skoll Foundation and individual philanthropists. This has allowed us to begin producing content and broadcasting in six countries, but a funding gap of $1,000,000 remains. We would welcome the opportunity to speak to partners who might be able to support this work in any way they are able.

Support DMI here


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Development Media International

Development Media International (DMI) is a recommended charity of The Life You Can Save. DMI uses radio and T.V. shows to influence family and societal awareness, attitudes and behaviors around crucial health issues in order to dramatically decrease morbidity and mortality from diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, HIV/AIDS and Trachoma.

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The views expressed in blog posts are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Peter Singer or The Life You Can Save.