Social and Behavior Change Communication
Using modern FP requires practicing new behaviors—whether they are going to the health facility for FP services, using pills consistently, or practicing exclusive breastfeeding (for LAM). Decisions about whether to access FP services and select a contraceptive method are often deeply influenced by social factors, such as social norms around sexual activity and use of FP services, religious beliefs, social support, cultural traditions, myths and rumors, local or national policies, and the role of women in reproductive health decision-making. Social and behavior change communication (SBCC) uses communications to promote and support recommended FP practices among women, their partners and family members, and health providers; addresses changes in related socio-cultural norms; and builds a supportive environment for recommended FP practices.
SBCC activities may include providing families with information about available FP services and benefits of using FP, holding group-based discussions to address myths and misconceptions about FP, and engaging community leaders to build support for FP. SBCC activities should be designed strategically to address key barriers and enablers for recommended FP practices identified during formative assessment. Development of an SBCC strategy (or communication strategy) can help ensure that all messages and materials are designed strategically for the appropriate target audiences.
Efforts to increase the use of FP are much more likely to be successful and sustainable if they promote broader social change in addition to individual behavior change.
Key Resources for Behavior Change Communication:
- A Guide for Developing Messages for Women in the First Year Postpartum (ACCESS-FP, 2010). Available in English and French.
- Clear Communication: A Family Planning Provider’s Guide for Developing Easy-to-Read Materials (JSI, 2008)
- Designing for Behavior Change Curriculum (Core Group, 2008)
- A Field Guide for Designing a Health Communication Strategy: A Resource for Health Communication Professionals (JHUCCP, 2003)