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Project in the works: SMS to reinforce mother-infant bond

August 20, 2012

Project in the works: SMS to reinforce mother-infant bond Project in the works: SMS to reinforce mother-infant bond Project in the works: SMS to reinforce mother-infant bond Project in the works: SMS to reinforce mother-infant bond

In our search for new, innovative and realistic solutions for social change and achievement of development goals, MG-i has embarked on a project in the promising field of Communication for Development.  In collaboration with AVOME (Asociación de Voluntarios de Mendoza), MG-i is designing and implementing a text message (SMS) campaign to create awareness and educate on the benefits and responsibilities of the maternal-infant bond.

AVOME works in impoverished areas of the Mendoza region on the protection of children rights related to education, health and family services. Their mission is to accompany children and their families in their development and personal fulfillment, and to protect, above all, the right to their health, a family environment and a completed education. They promote the collaboration of mothers who have sought help in the Avome social centers to volunteer as mentors for other women (heads of family) in their socially and economically impoverished communities.

The families that belong to AVOME are for the most part either single-parent (usually mother+ children+ grandchildren) or a family ensemble (new couples made up of a mother with children + father with other children ). The main burden to these families is the lack of economic support, yet their biggest social problems deal with the lack of parental limits and guidance of the children and the mixing-up of family roles (sons that play the role of fathers, daughters that are forced to take parental responsibility of their siblings, children that a are having babies, etc).

MG-i's initial objective for the campaign was to organize a communication strategy to deal with children malnutrition. Yet, after discussing and brainstorming with AVOME professionals (doctors, social workers, psychologists, and a wide array of specialist that donate their time and effort to the ONG) an insight came up. There was a more latent topic that had to be dealt with: reinforcing the mother-infant bond which includes feeding, nurturing, educating and caring. This "bond" begins at the time of pregnancy and is one of the most important factors in a healthy integral development of a child, yet is often absent in family situations presented to the AVOME centers.

The communication campaign is designed to provide twice a week SMS(*) to the mothers that are signed up for this service through the AVOME social centers. The messages, created by AVOME professionals and MG-i public health and communication specialists, deal with nutrition, hygiene, health and care of their child, and are strategically planned to provide support for the services provided to these women at the center.

MG-i is leading the strategy preparation, design, implementation and evaluation of the campaign. The SMS are sent using a software provided by frontlineSMS

Our goal is to improve the quality and effectiveness of the work at AVOME through accesible communication and technology tools.

Please stay tuned to further updates and contact us for any questions.

* As of 2011 cellphone penetration reached 100% in Latin America, 142% in Argentina (http://latinlink.usmediaconsulting.com)