Behavioral Design to Inform Social and Behavior Change for Nutrition

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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.

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