Behavioral Design to Inform Social and Behavior Change for Nutrition

Behavioral science offers empirical insights into how people interact with their environment and each other under different conditions. It includes research from various fields, such as cognitive and social psychology, marketing, neuroscience, and behavioral economics, that provide insight into the complexity of human behavior. Behavioral design leverages insights from behavioral science to develop and test innovative solutions that, rather than trying to change people, seek to reshape their context to positively influence their behavior. It offers a powerful tool to address some of the stickiest challenges in health and nutrition programs, services, and policies.

This online course, developed by Breakthrough ACTION and USAID Advancing Nutrition, offers a practical, hands-on introduction to behavioral science and behavioral design, and how to apply these approaches to nutrition challenges. It uses a real-life case example to illustrate the behavioral design process in action and guides participants to consider whether and how the solutions can be adapted to their own contexts. This case example draws from research and design work conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support families to follow nutrition guidelines for feeding their young children during and after illness.

Worksheet activities are assigned at several points within the course. The activities prompt learners to think through how what they are learning can be applied to their work and within their organization, services, or programs. Learners are encouraged to download the worksheet, which is also located under the “Materials” tab above, and to use it when completing course activities. The worksheet is for personal use and is not required to receive the course certificate.

Introduction to SBC for Nutrition

Behavioral science and behavioral design are tools that can strengthen social and behavior change (SBC) program design. If nutrition SBC is new to you, you may find it useful to complete the Social and Behavior Change for Nutrition introductory course first. It explains the importance of SBC to achieving nutrition outcomes and offers an overview of SBC models, approaches, and processes.

Engaging Communities for Reproductive Health and Family Planning

Community engagement is critical for encouraging positive behaviors and addressing reproductive health and family planning (RH/FP) social and structural barriers. Community engagement can foster increased uptake of RH/FP services, improved provider-client interactions, and enhanced partnership and social accountability between health and community systems.

This is a skills-building course for Ministry of Health staff, NGO program managers, and donor organization personnel to learn how to work with communities to build local strengths and support community-led action for RH/FP issues. The course consists of six sessions structured around the adapted Community Action Cycle. It outlines key steps for designing and managing effective community engagement programming, including the process, principles, and values of community engagement and the time, staffing, and budget needed to carry out community engagement for RH/FP. Additional reading materials and tools help the learner more deeply understand and apply course content.

Learning Objectives

  • Articulate the role of community engagement within broader social and behavior change (SBC) programming for RH/FP
  • Identify key steps in designing, implementing, and documenting community engagement for collective action
  • Utilize additional resources for community engagement planning and guidance

Know, Care, Do: A Theory of Change for Engaging Men and Boys in Family Planning

Engaging men and boys in family planning (FP) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) can improve their own lives and those of their intimate partners, families, and communities. Evidence shows that engaging men and boys in FP/SRH programs decreases unintended pregnancy, improves maternal health, reduces sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS, and advances gender equality (see Materials tab for references). Though progress has been made to engage men and boys more effectively in FP/SRH programs, most programs continue to do so in incomplete ways.

This course is intended for program implementers who are working to increase and improve the engagement of men and boys in FP programs and services. Course participants will deepen their understanding of what engaging men and boys in FP means and how programs and services can engage them in supportive, affirming, and gender equitable ways. Throughout this course, participants will familiarize themselves with the Know, Care, Do theory of change and case studies that guide the design and implementation of programs and services that engage men and boys in FP/SRH across their life course and across all levels of the socio-ecological model. Allowing for pauses to complete short reflection exercises, this course will take approximately two hours to complete.

Introduction to Behavioral Economics

Every day, billions of people make trillions of decisions, at work, at home and everywhere else. Behavioral economics (BE) is the study of the decisions and actions we make as human beings. This course will introduce you to BE, which includes behavioral biases and ways to apply behavioral design to family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH). BE teaches us that the interplay between context and psychological features of humans can have a surprisingly powerful effect on our behavior. Insights from behavioral analysis allow us to anticipate and account for these inconsistencies in human behavior when designing products, programs, and policies in public and reproductive health and beyond. The sessions in this course consist of instructional videos and engaging tasks that you can complete to deepen your understanding of the application of behavioral economics. We look forward to working with you and hope you enjoy the process.

Audience Segmentation for Vaccination

This toolkit is intended for use by social and behavioral change communication professionals to encourage vaccine acceptance and uptake by employing segmentation based on attitudes and behaviors of their intended audience. The goals of this toolkit are to:

  • Familiarize toolkit users with the concept of segmentation and how it can be employed to target messaging during epidemics.
  • Provide resources for policymakers and implementers.
  • Support preparedness efforts to protect against and anticipate needs in the next pandemic.

If you would like to save or print this toolkit, it is available as a PDF in the Materials tab above.

Audience Segmentation for Malaria

Social and behavior change (SBC) strategies are critical for encouraging positive behaviors and addressing social and structural barriers around malaria prevention and case management. SBC can foster an increased utilization of health services, improved client-provider interactions, and the proper diagnosis and treatment for malaria.

To increase the effectiveness of SBC strategies, program planners need to understand the intended audience(s) of SBC efforts and the factors driving their behavior. Audience segmentation is a technique that divides a population into groups with similar characteristics related to a topic or behavior of interest, enabling a deeper understanding of the demographic factors, norms, and attitudes that drive malaria-related behavior among each group. The use of audience segmentation can help SBC practitioners develop interventions and messages tailored to each group’s particular characteristics and needs.

This course is intended for use by social and behavior change (SBC) and service delivery professionals to encourage appropriate use of malaria tests and treatment by employing segmentation based on attitudes and behaviors of their intended audience(s).

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Measuring SBC Program or Campaign Exposure

Social and behavior change (SBC) programs use different methods, such as mass media and interpersonal communication, to reach target audiences. Determining the extent to which target audiences are exposed to SBC approaches requires strategies that are specific to the approach. For example, household surveys can assess exposure to a mass media campaign while social media listening can evaluate exposure to a social media campaign. SBC programs can use exposure measures to assess respondent awareness, sentiment, and comprehension of a campaign message.  Practitioners should tailor exposure methods and measures  to address measurement challenges, such as selective attention and social desirability bias. Understanding levels of exposure to SBC programs and campaigns informs implementation, determines budgets that most effectively leverage program resources, and determines the program’s overall effectiveness.

This course aims to support SBC programs by providing an overview of SBC program or campaign exposure measures, including measurement challenges and how to minimize error. It provides examples of questions and data sources, along with explanations for how exposure data can inform SBC programs. This course is comprised of three short instructional videos that last between 10–15 minutes.

Breakthrough RESEARCH has designed this course for monitoring and evaluation officers to help them understand how to capture and use SBC exposure data to inform, monitor, and evaluate SBC program performance. While the steps presented include examples specific to family planning programs, any SBC program can make use of them.

Measuring Provider Behavior Change

Provider behavior defines a range of actions that include but are not limited to facility management, adherence to clinical protocols, supervision, and client-provider interaction. Moreover, these behaviors are the result of a complex set of factors, both internal (e.g., attitudes, values, and beliefs) and external (e.g., supervisor support, access to professional development, and a supportive workplace environment). Understanding what drives provider behaviors and how they impact client-level outcomes is key to improving health services.

Providers’ behavior can significantly influence patients’ experiences of health service and their likelihood to adhere to treatment or recommendations, and potentially alter patients’ likelihood to re-engage with health services for improved health outcomes. Increasingly, experts recognize that adequate health worker training and structural support (e.g., availability of commodities and consultation room privacy) are not sufficient to provide high-quality health services. Social and behavior change (SBC) programs have introduced strategies to improve health worker performance. However, current understanding of how to measure provider behavior and provider behavior change (PBC) is limited. 

This course aims to support Social and Behavior Change (SBC) programs by helping program planners and designers better understand provider behavior change initiatives and their impact on service delivery and quality. The course is also meant to advance measurement of PBC by providing frameworks and illustrative examples of how PBC measurement can inform program planning and design. This course is comprised of two short instructional videos that last between 10-15 minutes. The videos are accompanied by a How to Brief that students can print for easy reference. 

Breakthrough RESEARCH developed this course for program managers and mid­-level professionals who are interested in gaining a better understanding of provider behavior, PBC approaches, and how to measure the outcomes of these approaches. While the steps presented include examples specific to family planning programs, SBC practitioners can apply them to any program.

Applying Segmentation to Social and Behavior Change in Family Planning

This course provides insight into how segmentation can be a valuable asset in implementing social and behavior change programming within family planning and other health areas. The course will provide a brief overview on how to complete segmentation and more extensive content on how to apply the results to programming. Student will complete the course with a greater appreciation for the value of segmentation and how it could help their own organization’s efforts.

Social and Behavior Change Program Monitoring

Successful social and behavior change (SBC) programs depend on careful and consistent monitoring. Monitoring is an ongoing process to ensure that an SBC program is on track to achieve its goals and objectives. When SBC program situations change, as they almost always do, monitoring can enable program activities to adapt to the new circumstances and identify how well they adapt.

The SBC Program Monitoring course will provide learners with a foundation in monitoring for any type of programmatic intervention. The course is part of a comprehensive learning suite that includes a collection of resources to assist program staff to monitor their SBC programs by drawing upon proven tools and case studies. The course equips learners to design their own monitoring strategy.