What we do

DMI delivers radio and TV campaigns to change behaviours and save lives in developing countries.

We design and deliver radio and TV campaigns (see examples) that are designed to improve health outcomes by informing people about important healthcare issues and promoting behaviour change where appropriate.

We are currently designing health behaviour change campaigns in 10 African countries, and are looking for partners and funders for many of these projects through our Media Million Lives initiative.

Our campaigns are carefully designed:

  • To encourage behaviours that will save the most lives in a given country and context (for example, by promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life)
  • To change behaviours by tackling the key barriers to behaviour change head-on (such as religious beliefs or cultural norms) and by tapping into underlying motivations and other enablers of change
  • To reach the largest number of people in the most effective way (by choosing our media partners carefully based on the demographic profile, geographical location and language preferences of our target audience, and designing our campaigns to reach them several times a day for a sustained period)

Our primary focus is tackling the key causes of death and disability among children under five and recent mothers. In 2011, 6.9 million children under the age of five died worldwide; our model, based on wide-ranging and robust evidence, predicts that we can save one million lives among this group by running campaigns in 10 countries over several years. (It also predicts that we can do this more cheaply than any other existing health intervention, and we are running a cluster-randomised trial to prove this). 

"A scientist who is also a human being cannot rest while knowledge which might reduce suffering rests on the shelf." Albert Sabin



This series of short films outlines DMI's approach in using mass media to change behaviours:

Why DMI? (2:52)

DMI's CEO, Roy Head, describes how DMI was created to bring together the very different worlds of media and science, and how it has the potential to save over a million lives.

Changing Behaviours (3:16)

Everything that DMI does is based on changing behaviours. To do this, we combine field research (to understand how people think) with creative techniques (to manipulate their emotions). This film shows that process at work in Burkina Faso.


The Science (3:05)

What is the science that underpins DMI's work? How many lives can we actually save? What is a DALY? Professor Jimmy Whitworth (Wellcome Trust), Dr Richard Horton (The Lancet) and Roy Head (DMI) present the key concepts.


The Science (Part Two) (1:42)

A continuation of the scientific story, this film describes how we are testing our model through a randomised controlled trial in Burkina Faso.


Radio Partners (2:57)

Why do we form such close partnerships with radio stations? Why don't we just pay for airtime? This film, set in Burkina Faso, answers those questions and explores what local radio stations have to gain from the partnership.


The Talent (2:32)

DMI has a unique way of recruiting staff. Rather than selecting people based on education or experience, we invited 600 people with no experience at all to write a script...