A still from a DMI film promoting early childhood development behaviours

Location Early childhood development, Nutrition

Early childhood development RCT


The Enfance campaign 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 in seven languages.


This 24-month project ran 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, while the videos were distributed to 1,000 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 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, local partners deeply embedded in the communities of South-Western Côte d’Ivoire, and 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 9 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 Côte 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 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 2,000 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. We gave 1,000 SD cards to a network of local midwives and 1,000 to key village stakeholders to distribute and encourage people to share via Bluetooth. The SD card distribution ran from December 2020 – March 2021.


Project impact

Our Impact


Our partners, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the Paris School of Economics, and the University of Lausanne, conducted an RCT to evaluate the effect of the viral videos on nurturing care behaviours or caregivers that could stimulate ECD. The team selected 100 villages as the treatment arm who received the viral video intervention, and a further 100 villages as the control arm where the videos were not distributed.

The research objectives were to:

  1. Assess the impact of the videos on the knowledge and the practices of the children’s carers, as well as the child’s development (Type 1 households).
  2. Estimate the reach of the indirect distribution strategy where SD cards were distributed indirectly by key stakeholders in the treatment villages (Type 2 households).

The RCT showed positive changes in knowledge and behaviours relating to ECD among caregivers in the treatment group compared to the control group. We also found that 29.4% of the treatment group households had watched at least one video, suggesting that this approach is an effective option for a potential scale-up of the viral videos campaign.

Furthermore, the qualitative evaluation of our radio campaign showed an impact on awareness about exclusive breastfeeding and an increase in men’s involvement in facilitating complementary feeding of children aged over 6 months old.

A paper detailing the results of the independent evaluation is expected to be published later this year.

Type 1 treatment households watched each video an average of 6.4 times.

Type 2 treatment households watched each video an average of 1.3 times.

34% of Type 1 treatment households had shared videos inside their village and 12% outside their village.

Male and female caregiver’s ECD behaviours were significantly improved compared to controls.

Self-reported use of psychological, physical and severe physical violence against children were significantly lower in treatment versus control villages.

Psychological violence: shouting, screaming, insulting the child

Physical violence: shaking, hitting or slapping the child on their body

Severe physical violence: hitting or slapping the child on their face/head

Partners & Funders

The Enfance campaign is being evaluated in partnership with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), Paris School of Economics, and the University of Lausanne. 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.

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 viral video campaign in Côte d’Ivoire.