Learn how we use evidence-based behaviour change campaigns to improve and save lives in low-income countries.
Learn about how DMI brings together two different worlds: demonstrable scientific practice and creative storytelling.
Location Family planning
Zaka was a national family planning radio campaign designed to cost-effectively increase modern contraceptive uptake and improve family planning outcomes in Burkina Faso. Following the results of our family planning randomised controlled trial (RCT), this campaign was designed to help the Burkinabè government to meet ambitious family planning targets and accelerate modern contraceptive uptake.
Family planning – promoting the uptake of modern contraceptives.
82 x 1-minute radio spots and live, interactive phone-in radio programmes, produced in 10 languages.
Our radio campaign ran from January 2020 to December 2022 on 32 radio stations in Burkina Faso. It built on a 12-month national scale family planning radio campaign which ran from January to December 2019 and followed our 2015-2018 family planning RCT.
16.7 million people
From 2015-2018, we conducted a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to demonstrate that mass media campaigns can change family planning behaviours and increase modern contraceptive uptake. Modelling suggests that a national family planning radio campaign in Burkina Faso would lead to an additional 225,000 women using modern contraception – at a cost of $7.70 USD per woman. This is what we set out to achieve.
The Zaka campaign, which means “family” or “home” in Mooré language, focused on tackling the barriers to family planning uptake across Burkina Faso, where contraceptives are now free in some areas. We conducted focus group discussions with families in different regions of the country to update our understanding of these barriers. The main barriers included fear of side effects and lack of information about different contraceptive methods.
Based on these findings, our Creative team in Burkina Faso produced 82 radio spots and twice-weekly drama segments for interactive phone-in shows that aimed to help men and women make informed choices about how to plan their families.
We broadcast our spots and long format shows nationally, in the 10 most widely-spoken languages in Burkina Faso. The campaign ran for a total of 36 months.
We also worked with our radio station partners to broadcast interactive phone-in shows 2 hours per night, 2 nights per week. This format allowed audiences to phone in and discuss their fears, beliefs, and uncertainties about family planning with peers, and to receive accurate information and reassurance from health experts.
Listen to the spot
Zaka’s impact on maternal health and wellbeing was evaluated using datasets collected by PMA (Performance Monitoring for Action) and the Impact2 tool. This modelling estimates that the Zaka campaign increased the number of “Couple Years of Protection” (CYPs) by 190,000, resulting in the averting of 87,500 unintended pregnancies, 30,800 unsafe abortions and 182 maternal deaths.
This campaign was funded by individual philanthropists.
We expanded our family planning campaigns to seven countries in East Africa, to deliver family planning multimedia campaigns as part of the FCDO-funded WISH2ACTION project. Having previously worked with governments and UNFPA to run family planning campaigns in five Sahel countries under the SWEDD initiative, we are now aiming to scale up our family planning campaigns in West Africa.