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The Power of Two

Sri Lanka has a good healthcare system which is free. We are an early achiever in reducing infant and under 5 mortality. Yet it was worrying that nearly one out of 5 children are born with low birth weight and 29% of the children under 5 are reported to be underweight. Accute malnutrition  and anemia is also prevalent among children under 2.

So we focused our campaign on the Power of Two – the first two years of a child’s life. Myself and Methsiri; the team of two started gathering information. Phoenix Ogilvy a leading advertising agency came on board to prepare the advertisement free of charge to help us with our popular mobilization. Twogether we developed press ads and radio ads to use the two  most effective mass media in the country. The radio stations had a special segment on children for a week focusing on children’s survival and development. All the newspapers gave us free space for write ups. Basically we got two half pages for the price of one. Dialog GSM and Airtel, the two leading mobile phone networks joined hands to send out an SMS message highlighting the power of two once again free of  charge. The message reached nearly 1. 2 million people across the island.

Today I had a one hour radio programme talking about the power of two. Karin, the programme host and I put our two heads together to make it more interesting for the listeners. We informed the listeners about the situation of children in the world as well as in Sri Lanka. There were many callers. Caller number two , a young woman with three children confessed that she only breastfed the first two children for about 4 months but with the support of friends and family she breastfed her third child for 6 months exclusively and he is the healthiest among the three and that he never fell ill.  She just nailed what we have been saying so convincingly.

It was amazing that the Power of Two reached such heights with support from many organizations who believed that they also have a role to play to save the children.

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