Tackling gender equity, one nutrition TV spot at a time

By Ann Jimerson, Behavior Change Specialist, Alive & Thrive

As the clock ticks to mark the first hour of the baby’s life, a young mother raises her hand to contradict her mother-in-law, who wants to give the baby honey instead of breastmilk. It’s one of my favorite TV spots from Alive & Thrive’s (A&T) program in Bangladesh. Every time I view this TV spot, I feel a surge of emotion when the young mother firmly says, “No, give her to me. I have to breastfeed.”

bangladesh 1

This young mother surprised viewers by taking control of her baby’s first hour of life.

So it caught me off guard when a participant in the recent SUN Movement Global Gathering questioned the program planners’ decision to portray this young mother standing up to the authority of elders. “Why did you show the mother that way? It’s completely unrealistic. That would never happen,” the participant said.

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How to reach “masses” when mass media are not available? Follow the money!

Ann JimersonTina Sanghvi, and Silvia AlayónALIVE & THRIVE

Quick. I say “mass media campaign” and you name the “media” that come to mind: _____.

Not so long ago, you would likely have answered “TV and radio.” With “new media” abounding, broadcast TV and radio are now relegated to “traditional media.” But what about when technology—even electricity—lags. What does “mass media” mean then?

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Don’t forget about dad: Six strategies for getting fathers more involved in child feeding


Whether he’s aware of his influence or not, almost every father in every culture influences his family’s choices about how to feed the children. His everyday decisions about how many of the eggs the family’s chickens lay will be sold at market and how many will be kept at home for the family to eat can make the difference between a stunted child and one who reaches his or her full growth potential.

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Like talking to a friend


An article in a recent issue of The New Yorker magazine sped throughout our organization, FHI 360. The surgeon and writer Atul Gawande wrote “Slow Ideas: Some innovations spread fast. How do you speed the ones that don’t?”  The e-mail traffic about this article made me curious about why the article itself was spreading so fast.

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What if we were as strategic in designing interpersonal communication as we are for mass media?


I love a tightly designed mass media product.  It shows a discipline I admire.  And I am also a true believer in the power of interpersonal and community communication.


In Viet Nam, Alive & Thrive could reach hundreds of thousands of people with interpersonal communication – but to reach millions, our country team determined that we needed mass media, primarily TV.  Continue reading

“Because the doctor said so”: We need to help doctors get it right


The U.S. news was abuzz last week about a new study showing that 40 percent of American mothers feed their babies solid foods way too early.

Whose fault is that?

Over half of those moms said their doctor had told them to.  Continue reading

Re-electing a U.S. president and promoting a health behavior: What do these have in common?


As the U.S. turns to President Obama’s inauguration, we at Alive & Thrive reflect on what re-electing a U.S. president and promoting a health behavior may have in common:

Being precise about which behavior you need to promote 

Obama’s door-to-door canvassing effort was clear in its behavioral objective. Rather than knocking all doors to persuade undecided voters to support Obama, volunteer canvassers were directed, through a carefully constructed database, to the homes of people who had already indicated they were pro-Obama. The behavioral objective was to make sure those likely Democrat voters would “go to the polls and vote.” Continue reading