Shifting Social and Gender Norms as Part of Social and Behavior Change, Part 1

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When behavior change is the goal, program planners need to understand if, how, when, and under what conditions a behavior is influenced by social and gender norms. Social and gender norms are the implicit, informal rules that most people accept and abide by; these rules are learned and reinforced from childhood to adulthood through observation, instruction, and social interaction. Norms play out at all levels, in individual decisions, relationships, and communities, and are also embedded in formal and informal institutions. They can have profound effects on individuals and group behaviors and actions.

This online course was developed by Breakthrough ACTION and adapted from the in-person and virtual Social Norms Training Curriculum developed by the Passages Project. Part 1 offers an overview of social and gender norms and an introduction to using norms assessments for designing social and behavior change programs. The course uses animations and real-life case examples to illustrate the application of this work in different contexts. Part 2, which will be available in 2024, covers the design of norms-shifting interventions and the measurement of these approaches.

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