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.”

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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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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

For a media campaign that sticks: Go with the “pros”

Tina Sanghvisenior country director,ALIVE & THRIVE Bangladesh,FHI 360

With Alive & Thrive’s mandate to change infant and child feeding practices at scale in Bangladesh, a country of 150 million, mass media is a must. But in a thriving marketplace, we’re in fierce competition for our audience’s attention. Continue reading

The “mass” in mass media: Numbers matter


One item in the Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey’s (BDHS) preliminary report was surprising. For 15 years, rates of exclusive breastfeeding had remained steady, at about 43%. But in 2011, they detected a great leap upward to 64%. How do we explain this?

We can’t help but believe that a creative mass media campaign for better infant feeding played a role. Continue reading