We are delighted to announce the launch of a national scale early childhood development (ECD) campaign in Mozambique, supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, that will deliver ECD messaging to caregivers across the country.

The intervention
In December, we launched a 39-month project in Mozambique with the generous support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The project, Munnuwelo, which means “growing up” in the Makhuwa language, will focus on improving public awareness of and attitudes towards ECD, with the aim of shifting caregivers’ behaviours and improving the developmental outcomes of children aged under three years old.

Radio spots will be broadcast on a network of community, provincial, and national radio stations and complemented by interactive radio shows in Nampula, the country’s most populous province. Children in Nampula face the highest rate of multidimensional poverty in the northern region of Mozambique at roughly 13% higher than the national average. They are also more likely to suffer from chronic malnutrition than the national average and have poorer access to water sources (UNICEF, 2022).

In response to the Mozambican Ministry of Health’s (MOH) national ECD strategy, this campaign will focus on reaching caregivers with messages to improve development of children aged under three years old in Mozambique. Our activities will also include capacity building of the MOH, as well as a select network of radio stations, in order to boost their ability to deliver impactful social behaviour change campaigns in the long term. DMI is dedicated to rigorous evaluations of our campaigns and will conduct a two-arm quasi-experimental evaluation as well as a process evaluation, the results of which will be publicly available once complete.

DMI’s ECD experience
DMI has been conducting ECD campaigns since 2011. We look forward to leveraging our experience of working across all provinces in Mozambique as well as our experience of conducting impactful ECD interventions in the Caribbean, Bangladesh, and sub-Saharan Africa.

One of our most notable ECD interventions was ASTUTE in Tanzania, which produced some very promising results. Our mass media campaign increased the number of mothers who ate more foods during their last pregnancy by 12.6 percentage points (pp). The number of mothers who engaged with their children in at least four ECD activities such as drawing, singing, and naming objects increased by 16.8 pp after listening to our spots, and the number of fathers who engaged with their children by talking and playing with them in the last week increased by 17.2 pp. You can read more about our ASTUTE results here.

Our ECD campaign in Côte d’Ivoire, Enfance, also achieved significant results in reducing violence punishment of children as well as increases in parental early childhood stimulation (ECS) knowledge and observed positive parent-child interactions. We expect the full results of the independently conducted randomised controlled trial (RCT) to be published in 2023.

We are currently conducting a landmark 3-year ECD campaign in Burkina Faso, SUNRISE, which is being independently evaluated with an RCT. We expect the results of this RCT to be published in 2026.

We are hugely grateful to our funder, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, for giving us this opportunity to improve ECD behaviours across Mozambique, and look forward to sharing further details as Munnuwelo progresses.