Burkina Faso

PEOPLE REACHED: 14.9 million
BROADCAST PARTNERS: 28 community radio stations


Current projects | Future projects | Recent news | More information | Funders


Current DMI projects in Burkina Faso

Child survival RCT (2011-2015)

We have been working with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to run a ground-breaking cluster-randomised controlled trial, funded by the Wellcome Trust and Planet Wheeler Foundation, to test the predictions of our mathematical model in a real-life setting. The three-year broadcast phase of this five-year project ended in January 2015, and LSHTM are currently conducting the endline survey. Full results will be available in early 2016. We published midline results in 2014. The rationale for the trial has been described in a recent Lancet article.

Child survival national campaign (2015-)

In 2014 we secured funding from four organisations (SPRING, Alive & Thrive, Comic Relief and the Vitol Foundation) to scale up our child health campaign from the seven community radio stations covered by the RCT to 28 community radio stations across Burkina Faso (see map below), giving us full national coverage (reaching 14.9m people, or 78% of the population). We began broadcasting radio spots nationwide in May 2015.

The campaign is broadcasting one-minute radio spots. These can be very precisely scripted, are drama-based and highly entertaining, and can be broadcast 10 times per day. Every spot script is based on a one-page ‘message brief’ (a set of instructions to the creative team). This summarises the findings of detailed field-based formative research by DMI’s qualitative research team into key behaviours and barriers to behaviour change. DMI’s research team carries out rigorous pre-testing of spots and gathers feedback on spots following their broadcast. This information is fed back to the creative team to inform the writing of new spots.

Messages are aligned with the strategy of the Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso and promote early and exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, treatment-seeking for pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea, use of insecticide-treated bed nets, hand washing and delivery in a health facility.

A quantitative evaluation tracks knowledge and crucial target behaviours in selected zones before, during and after the campaign. Time-series data collection allows us to track progress at regular intervals, and is an excellent way of measuring whether the intervention has made an impact, and at what stage different behaviours were influenced by the campaign. Using this behavioural data and the Lives Saved Tool (LiST), we will be able to estimate how many lives have been saved, and the cost of each life saved.

We estimate (conservatively) that a national campaign will reduce under-five mortality in Burkina Faso by 15% at a cost of $8.04 per DALY averted. The cost-effectiveness of this intervention is therefore comparable to the cost of the cheapest health intervention: childhood immunisation (at $1-$8 per DALY averted).

'Viral videos' mHealth pilot (2014-15)

Since late 2014 we have been running a pilot project in south-western Burkina Faso: ‘viral videos’. Funded by a Grand Challenges Exploration grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project promotes maternal and child health using short entertaining films that can be watched on mobile phones.

People in Burkina Faso are increasingly watching and sharing short videos on their mobile phones. The project taps into this trend by creating ‘viral videos’ in local languages that promote positive maternal and child health behaviours. Each of the films delivers a specific message, such as the benefits of hand washing, and the promotion of treatment-seeking for diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

We are currently analysing the initial evaluation results from this pilot and will publish more information soon.


Future DMI projects in Burkina Faso

Family planning RCT (2015-2019)

We have recently secured $4.5m (from a total budget of $4.9m) to run a second RCT in Burkina Faso. This will test the impact of a community radio campaign on family planning (the primary outcome will be modern contraceptive prevalence). The campaign will broadcast a mixture of one-minute radio spots and weekly phone-in programmes on eight community radio stations, with eight control zones, over a three year period. The Principal Investigator is Rachel Glennerster, Executive Director of J-PAL. We are planning to run a baseline survey in late 2015 and to begin production and broadcasting in early 2016. We are currently seeking to identify a third funder to provide the remaining $400,000 needed for this project. 

Child survival national campaign (2015-)

We are looking for additional funders to support our ongoing child survival national radio campaign, as described above, from early 2016. We have the capacity to broadcast messages on related topics, such as early childhood development and maternal health and nutrition, alongside our 'core' set of child survival messages. 


Recent news from DMI Burkina Faso

27 May 2015 | DMI launches campaigns in Burkina Faso and DRC

13 Mar 2015 | Our radio partners in Burkina Faso

05 Jun 2014 | Gates funds DMI mHealth project in Burkina Faso

23 Apr 2014 | Burkina Faso RCT midline results

27 Jan 2014 | Research findings from Burkina Faso (5)

18 Nov 2013 | Wellcome Trust visit to Burkina Faso

30 Oct 2013 | Research findings from Burkina Faso (4)

18 Jul 2013 | Minister of Health in Burkina Faso visits DMI

08 Jul 2013 | Research findings from Burkina Faso (3)

15 May 2013 | Radio clips from Burkina Faso

01 May 2013 | Research findings from Burkina Faso (2)

25 Feb 2013 | Research findings from Burkina Faso

24 Oct 2012 | Meet the scriptwriters in Burkina Faso

19 Mar 2012 | Life-saving radio project launches in Burkina Faso


More information about Burkina Faso

To find out more or to arrange a meeting, please fill out an online form or contact:

Matthew Lavoie | Country Director, Burkina Faso | + 226 7684 9717 | matthew@dmiafrica.net  


Our funders in Burkina Faso

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Its breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health.The trust is funding the research component of DMI’s RCT in Burkina Faso.


The Planet Wheeler Foundation, a prescribed ancillary fund, was established in 2008 by Maureen and Tony Wheeler, founders of Lonely Planet Publications. Planet Wheeler is based in Melbourne, Australia and currently funds over 60 projects in 30 countries in the developing world. Their purpose is to support practical and effective projects which make a difference in the alleviation of poverty. The foundation is funding the media component of DMI’s RCT in Burkina Faso.


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2000, is one of the largest private foundations in the world. In developing countries it works to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. The foundation runs the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, which fosters scientific and technological innovation to solve key health problems in the developing world. DMI was selected in 2014 for a seed grant through this scheme to pilot an innovative approach to promoting maternal and child health using short entertaining films that can be watched on mobile phones.


SPRING (Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally) is a five‐year USAID‐funded Cooperative Agreement to strengthen global and country efforts to scale up high impact nutrition practices and policies and improve maternal and child nutrition outcomes. DMI has been awarded a Subagreement by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc to develop and implement a community media nutrition campaign in target provinces of Burkina Faso as part of the SPRING project.


Alive & Thrive is an initiative to save lives, prevent illness, and ensure healthy growth and development through improved breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the governments of Canada and Ireland. DMI has been awarded a contract by FHI360 to develop and implement a community media infant and young child feeding campaign across Burkina Faso as part of Alive & Thrive.


Comic Relief is one of the largest charitable foundations in the UK. Founded in 1985, it raises money through high-profile telethons on UK television, in particular Red Nose Day, which raised £100m in 2013. Funds raised are used to support projects in the UK and in Africa, covering a range of social issues, including health. Comic Relief is part-funding DMI to scale up  its child health radio campaign across Burkina Faso after the RCT in 2015, with a particular focus on promoting behaviours linked to the prevention and treatment of pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. 


The Vitol Foundation is an independent foundation that was set up and endowed by Vitol, one of the world's largest energy and commodity trading companies. It supports projects in four programme areas critical to a child’s development: health, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, and livelihoods. The Vitol Foundation is part-funding DMI to scale up its child health radio campaign across Burkina Faso after the RCT in 2015.


The Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) is the bilateral aid agency of the Government of Taiwan, and is dedicated to boosting socio-economic development, enhancing human resources and promoting economic relations in a range of developing partner countries, including Burkina Faso. TaiwanICDF is providing additional funding in support of our ongoing activities in Burkina Faso.