A still from a DMI film promoting early childhood development behaviours

Location Early childhood development

Early childhood development RCT


This campaign (Enfance) aimed to improve parenting behaviours using mass media and video distribution via mobile phones in Côte d’Ivoire.


Côte d'Ivoire


Early childhood development (ECD) – exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, cognitive stimulation of young children, positive discipline.


12 x 1-minute radio spots and 9 x 2-3 minute live action videos.


This is a 24-month project running from May 2019 – May 2021 in the South-Western cocoa growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire. Our radio spots were broadcast on 27 local stations, and the videos were distributed to 1000 households on SD cards via networks of local midwives.


We estimate that this campaign reached 2 million adults in cocoa producing communities, impacting ECD outcomes of approximately 6,000 children.

Project at a glance

Compared to the control group, 5 key indicators in this study were higher in the intervention group by an average of 15%
Reduced violence
physical punishment against children reduced by 8 percentage points in intervention households
6 months
in just 6 months, these results were achieved using our Saturation+ strategy

Our Approach

A photo of a researcher interviewing a woman as an example of DMIs field research methods


A targeted, regional intervention

Many cocoa farmers in the districts of Goh-Djiboua, Bas Sassandra, Montagnes, Sassandra-Marahoué and Yamoussoukro of the cocoa growing belt of South-Western Côte d’Ivoire survive on less than $0.5 a day. Most of them live in work camps, isolated from the services and infrastructure that urban and peri-urban areas provide. Children growing up in these areas often miss out on early learning and childcare opportunities, with adverse consequences for their development.

The majority of our target population do not have access to television and the internet, but radio listenership is high, so we broadcast on the most popular community radio stations. To reach people who may not have access to radios, we tested our innovative ‘viral video’ approach, which we pioneered in Burkina Faso. We worked with local midwives to distribute short videos to caregivers, which could then easily be shared with peers via Bluetooth and WhatsApp.

We have evaluated the viral video intervention using a randomised controlled trial (RCT) conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the Paris School of Economics, and the University of Lausanne.


Engaging content

We liaised with our funders, with local partners deeply embedded in the communities of South-Western Côte d’Ivoire, and with representatives from key government ministries to define the key messages for this campaign:

  1. responsive, playful and caring interactions between young children and their caregivers ,
  2. exclusive breastfeeding for children ages 0-6 months, and
  3. complementary feeding for children 6 months and older.

Our team in Côte d’Ivoire conducted 22 focus group discussions to identify barriers to behaviour change. They found that many people believed that the wellbeing and cognitive development of children is the responsibility of mothers and grandparents rather than fathers. Other barriers include the belief that infants need water as well as breastmilk, and low awareness of how to make nutritious porridge. We created 12 radio spots and 10 short films to address these barriers. The emotional core of our films is the relationship between brothers Angelin and Jean and the competition between them to have the most intelligent children.The films were written by our scriptwriting team in Burkina Faso and shot in Cote d’Ivoire by renowned Burkinabé Director, Apolline Traoré.

Two men sitting outside house in Cote d'Ivoire
A woman holding a mobile phone demonstrating DMI's use of phones to distribute video campaigns


12 radio spots, 9 films, 7 languages

All campaign content was produced in French and translated into the six most widely spoken local languages in the target regions.

Our 60-second radio spots were broadcast 10 times a day, 7 days a week for 6 months on 27 radio stations across the South-Western cocoa growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire. We loaded our nine films onto 1000 SD memory cards so that people could view them on their phones without requiring an internet connection, a computer or laptop or video playback technology, all of which can be prohibitively expensive. Working with networks of local midwives, we distributed the SD cards and encouraged people to share them via Bluetooth. The SD card distribution ran from December 2020 – March 2021.


Project impact

Our Impact

Evaluation Plans

In March 2020, we worked with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) to conduct a baseline study in order to understand the media consumption habits of our target population as well as parental behaviours and early childhood development outcomes in children.

Our endline evaluation analysed the reach of the radio campaign and what impact the radio spots had on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour regarding exclusive breastfeeding for children under six months of age and complementary feeding of children over six months of age.

Partners & Funders

The Enfance campaign is being evaluated in partnership with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). We are grateful to the Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) group, made of the Jacobs Foundation, the Bernard van Leer Foundation and the UBS Optimus Foundation, to Grand Challenges Canada (GCC), and to the Saul Foundation for funding this campaign.

Innovations for Poverty Action logo Transformer l'education dans les communautes de cacao Grand Challenges Canada logo Saul Foundation Logo
Hands holding a a mobile phone as an example of DMIs use of mobiles to distribute films

What Next

Scale Up Plans

DMI aims to scale up its radio and mobile video campaign in Côte d’Ivoire.