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Who we are
We are the first organisation to use scientific modelling combined with mass media campaigns in order to save the greatest number of lives in the most cost-effective way.
Is DMI a media organisation? Not really. Our staff are experts in using media (largely radio and TV) to deliver behaviour change in developing countries, but we see media simply as a means of delivering behaviour change. We are, at heart, an organisation focused on human knowledge and behaviour. Our focus is on creating this knowledge, and using it to change behaviours, to produce improved health outcomes in countries where those outcomes are low. The most effective (and cost-effective) way to do this is using media – predominantly radio and television - in Africa.
Equally, we are not a health organisation. Instead we work in close partnership with the acknowledged experts in the field, including WHO, UNICEF and LSHTM (and we are funded by some of the world’s most prestigious scientific organisations). Where we have developed an expertise, however, is in predicting and then measuring the impacts of our work, not just in terms of behaviour change, but in terms of direct health outcomes. We have developed a unique scientific model that tells us how many lives we will save, and allows us to design our campaigns so as to maximise this number. We are running a ground-breaking randomised controlled trial in Burkina Faso to demonstrate that this model works in the real world.
At present, our focus is on saving the lives of the 6.9 million children who die under the age of five every year, and on reducing the mortality rate among mothers. We therefore target the big causes of death among these groups, such as diarrhoea, malnutrition and malaria. But we also work across a range of related health issues, including sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, hygiene, environmental health and non-communicable diseases.
Click here for a quick illustrative guide explaining what we do and how mass media can save lives.
FILMS ABOUT DMI
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...
DMI is a social enterprise with both non-profit and for-profit arms. Development Media International Associates CIC is a Community Interest Company (No. 6069322) with non-profit status. Development Media International Ltd is a private limited company (No. 5411295) with for-profit status and a social mission.