The ABDUL LATIF JAMEEL-Poverty Action Lab of MIT conducted research that points to a high rate of iron deficiency among people of Bhojpur district in Bihar. Since it is pointless to tell poor, landless labourers without access to a balanced diet, to raise their iron levels through food, they arrived at a different solution: iron-fortified salt, known as DFS or Double Fortified Salt [Iodine and Iron]. They contracted Tata Chemicals to fortify salt with iron, and sales were to be done through existing market channels.
DamageControl converted this research into a 26-minute fiction film, Lahu Mangey Loha [Blood Demands Iron], in the famous Bhojpuri style, using song and dance. The video is used extensively in Bhojpur district as a tool of communication and research intervention, to promote the sale of iron-fortified salt. Users are monitored as part of ongoing research.
‘Movies, Margins, and Marketing: Encouraging Use of Iron-Fortified Salt’, a paper evaluating all communication processes for promoting DFS has clearly shown high efficiency of the movie, ‘Lahu Mangey Loha’. A non-technical summary of the evaluation declares: “For households that had to buy the salt, consumption of DFS increased from 9.8 percent in villages where the movie was not shown to 14.4 percent in villages where it was shown, an increase of 50 percent over the mean.”
The research is over.