DKT International, DKT Ethiopia's parent organization, was founded in 1989 by Phil Harvey to promote family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention through social marketing. (See here for a video with Mr. Harvey explaining contraceptive social marketing.)
Today, DKT International administers 21 social marketing programs in 19 countries around the world, which collectively provided 30 million couple years of protection (CYPs) in 2015. This included 663 million condoms, 74 million cycles of oral contraceptives, 25 million injectable contraceptives, 1.9 million IUDs and emergency contraception, implants, mifepristone/misoprostol, and manual vacuum aspiration kits.
Revenue from the sales of contraceptives and family planning services in 2015 was $103 million. These covered approximately 70% of DKT International's global operating costs, a figure that has been climbing steadily.
Grants and contributions in 2015 totaled $37.9 million. Our cost per CYP was less than $2, which was made possible by increasing efficiencies to near self-sufficiency in several country programs like Brazil and the Philippines. However, the higher-cost-per CYP programs, such as Bihar India and Sudan, have had a major impact because their urban and rural populations have a great need for contraceptives and contraceptive services.
DKT’s contraceptive social marketing programs have been a remarkable success. While the numbers are impressive, they mask an equally important aspect of social marketing: its profound effect on people’s lives. The humanitarian impact of our social marketing programs in Latin America, Africa, and Asia has immediate and long term benefits for poor families.
Planned, healthy families have more food and clothing, and – perhaps most importantly – money for school supplies and education for the new generation of children growing up. Every year, DKT’s innovative programs are saving more lives and improving the health of more families in many of the world’s developing countries.
Rising incomes in Asia and Latin America and steady or declining prices of contraceptives have made it possible for DKT to substantially increase its revenue stream, which leads to lower donor costs per CYP. As DKT programs produce higher sales revenues, the number of CYPs generated by donor dollars also increases.
Many of DKT’s programs have an HIV/AIDS component. For example, DKT Ethiopia’s Wise-Up campaign promotes condom use among at-risk populations because increasing the use of condoms reduces the prevalence of HIV. Today, Ethiopia has the third largest estimated HIV-infected population in the world.
Recently, DKT Ethiopia produced two educational films for young audiences about The HIV Superhighway that highlight concurrent partnerships and HIV prevention. These videos were produced with the assistance of Helen Epstein, the acclaimed author of The Invisible Cure: Africa, The West, and the Fight Against AIDS (2007).
What is Social Marketing and CYP?
Social marketing uses traditional marketing techniques and the infrastructure of the commercial sector to address social problems that require behavioral changes. Most of the world’s health problems can be dramatically reduced by relatively straightforward behavioral changes, such as using condoms and other birth control devices in family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention.
DKT uses Couple Years of Protection (CYPs) to measure program success. A CYP is the supply of contraceptives or the provision of a contraceptive service to protect one couple from pregnancy for one year. The sale of one hundred condoms, fourteen cycles of birth control pills, or the provision of four quarterly injections are all considered the equivalent of one CYP.