Social marketing for a better world

Newsletter November 2010

Khartoum, Sudan

DKT's Dr. Hiba Omer and a village midwife.

DKT’s Dr. Hiba Omer and a village midwife.

In Sudan, many rural women do not have access to hospitals and clinics with family planning services.  In response, DKT is using traveling physicians like Dr. Hiba Omer to train midwives to insert and remove IUDs in Northern Sudan.  By working with local midwives, DKT is providing more choices and opportunities for women, lowering maternity mortality, and improving the health and well being of women and children.  In 2009, DKT provided over 30 percent of all modern family planning methods in Sudan.

Washington, DC

DKT's sale of contraceptives in 2009.

DKT’s sale of contraceptives in 2009.

2009 was a very good year for DKT International.  DKT served 19 million couples and averted 11 million unwanted pregnancies.  DKT also averted 21,000 maternal deaths.  These figures make DKT the largest private provider of family planning products and services in the developing world.  The cost per couple served in 2009 was just $2.29 – the lowest by far among nonprofit organizations in the family planning sector.  The low cost per couple was due to low overhead costs – 98 percent of the total operating budget was spent on programs – and also from revenues of over $60 million from the sale of contraceptive products and services.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Bruna Alvin, DKT's 2010 Prudence Maxim competition winner.

Bruna Alvin, DKT’s 2010 Prudence Maxim competition winner.

In September, the staff at DKT-Brazil faced a daunting task.  Out of the many beautiful contestants in the Prudence Maxim model 2010 competition, they had to select one beauty to represent DKT’s brand of condoms.  The winner was Bruna Alvin, a lissome 25-year-old from Rio de Janeiro.  Fortunately for Brazil’s males, eleven other contestants besides Bruna will grace DKT’s stylish 2011 calendar.  Not surprisingly, the Prudence Maxim model competition coincided with a flood of 127,000 September visitors to DKT Brazil’s Prudence Web site (

Manila, Philippines

One of DKT-Philippines' many advertisements for contraceptive pills.

One of DKT-Philippines’ many advertisements for contraceptive pills.

Using hip pictures on its Web site and advertising to attract young people, DKT-Philippines is successfully marketing oral contraceptives in a country where contraception and family planning are still controversial topics.  With support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the German Development Bank (KfW), in 1997 DKT introduced Trust pills, a low-dose oral contraceptive manufactured in Germany that sold for 20 pesos, or 40 cents in US money.  In 2000, DKT sold more than three million cycles.  In 2004, this figure ballooned to 9.8 million cycles, and in 2009 DKT sold over 21 million cycles of oral contraceptives.  Today, DKT’s oral contraceptives program has been so successful that sales completely cover the cost of manufacturing and donor support from KfW is used to market the product.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Ethiopia's Young Marketer's Club sells DKT contraceptives and earns commissions.

The Ethiopia’s Young Marketer’s Club sells DKT contraceptives and earns commissions.

Thanks to a generous grant from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), DKT-Ethiopia has created the country’s most extensive contraceptive distribution network in the private sector.  Over the past decade, DKT has supplied 79 percent of all condoms, 45 percent of all oral contraceptives, 41 percent of all injectable contraceptives, and 13 percent of all IUDs sold in Ethiopia.  In addition, DKT has provided 100 percent of all the misoprostol distributed in this large and primarily rural East African country.  DKT reaches poor rural populations with traveling salespeople equipped with GPS tracking devices to record sales and locations and mobile video units to educate consumers about modern family planning methods.  DKT’s social marketing of contraceptives has been so successful that it is a core component of the Ethiopian government’s national health strategy.