Expand your Knowledge

Recommended Reading on Behavior Change Communication

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At Sight and Life, we are pleased to share knowledge and recommend resources that we find useful in our work. This is certainly the case with behavior change communication (BCC).

To expand your knowledge about the steps in the Sight and Life BCC Process we shared during the webinar “Assessing the Situation: What you need to know” in our BCC webinar series, we have collated an array of books, websites, and papers that are valuable resources. This is just our opinion but we hope these recommendations can deepen your knowledge on BCC and provide though-provoking ideas and inspiration as it did for us.

During this second webinar in the series, we discussed Step 2 and Step 3 in the Sight and Life BCC Process; the desk review and client research.

Bcc Process Cycle, behavior change, nutrition

The key takeaways from this webinar are:
– The BCC principle ‘know your audience’ lies at the core of developing successful nutrition communication campaigns. 
– Defining your knowledge needs, or simply what you need to know, is the first critical consideration.
– Step 2 in the BCC process isabout assessment, analysis, and synthesis of information to effectively answer questions on the broader context, thedrivers and constraints for the target behavior and communication efforts previously employed to change the desired behavior.
– Client research, step 3 in the BCC process,involves gaining valuable insights from the target audience and communities that you seek to change. 

Watch the video of webinar 2 below and find the complete slide deck from the second Sight and Life webinar HERE.

Our Recommended Resources on BCC from Webinar 2

 

Research Paper
1.
Download the paper by Population Services International (PSI). A Qualitative Research for Consumer Insights: One Organization’s Journey to Improved Consumer Insight HERE

In this paper, PSI, a leading social marketing and behavioral change communication NGO describe how they improved the use of research to gain better consumer insights and plan better interventions. It offers a practical perspective through the lens of an organization where research is core of the business.

Why do we like this?
We think this paper is insightful for any organization wishing to strengthen their qualitative research capacity for improved target audience insight generation. The paper lays out how an organization focusing on behavioral change, has sophisticated their approach to qualitative research to improve their programmes over time.

Useful Websites
2.
The Health COMpass
The Health COMpass is a platform offering a wealth of useful resources from different proven sources, for researchers, from specific guides on data collection methodsfor the field to more comprehensive guides on how to conduct formative research. It is funded by USAID and managed by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
 
Why do we like this?
The Health COMpass provides evidence based, easy to understand tools – ready to take and apply to a real-life context for beginner and specialists in behavioral change alike.
 
3. The UK National Social Marketing Center
This former non-profit and now agency offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide on developing a behavioral change intervention. Of specific interest is the section on generating insights, in their planning guide as well as the real-life examples of behavioral change interventions, in the show case section, you can learn how insights were derived from research to development. 

Blog
4.
Innovative Research Methods – Roleplay
As we often conduct research on topics that can be sensitive such as personal health or child feeding practices, creating an environment where the interviewee feels comfortable and at ease enough to open up to the interviewer is often a challenge. The choice of a research method which best fits the environment is key. Using roleplay for research is an innovative way to allow the interviewees to ‘act-out’ their behaviors, concerns, beliefs, and barriers with others rather than be interviewed. IDEO, a social innovation consultancy, uses this method successfully and provides free tools to download.

Another interesting blog post about the use of role play in research is “Candy Wrappers and Stethoscopes: Role-play in the user testing environment” written by Estee Liebenberg, a service design consultant.
 
Why do we like this?
Innovative research methods to tailor how we approach our audience and adhere to their needs and contexts is an important part of ‘knowing your audience’. Roleplay provides an applicable research method and in this blog post the author and practitioner of roleplay provides great insight into how this methodology works in practice.

Book
5.
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
 Drawing on decades of research in psychology that resulted in a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Daniel Kahneman takes readers on an exploration of what influences thought example by example. System 1 and System 2, the fast and slow types of thinking, become characters that illustrate the psychology behind things we think we understand but really don’t, such as intuition.
 
Why do we like it?
In webinar 2 we talked a lot about the BCC principle ‘know your audience’ and this book is an interesting examination of human behavior and how we think. It is a comprehensive explanation of why we make decisions the way we do and how the decision-making process can be improved. An interesting tidbit is our decisions are strongly colored by how we frame questions in our minds. Simply re-framing a question can easily cause people to reverse decisions. We need to understand these framing issues in order to avoid bad decisions. This provides useful insights for BCC interventions aiming to influence the decision-making process.

Webinar 2 Sources
And lastly check out these great sources our experts referred to during webinar 2! 

6. Merritt, RK. Bsc, D.Phil  (2011). Developing your  Behaviour Change Strategy ‘How To’ Guide.  On behalf o f NHS East London & the city.  Tower Hamlets PCT. 
 
7. Dickin, Kate and Marcia Griffiths, The Manoff Group, and Ellen Piwoz, SARA/AED. Designing by Dialogue. Consultative Research to Improve Young Child Feeding. Support for Analysis and Research in Africa: Washington, D.C.: AED for the Health and Human Resources Analysis (HHRAA) Project, June 1997 
 
8. Focused Ethnographic Study of Infants and Young Children Feeding Manual

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Assessing the Situation

What you Need to Know 

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Recently listening to TEDxCSU Talk on behavior change led by Professor Jeni Cross from Colorado University, I was immediately struck by how we routinely rush the planning stage of a behavior change communication (BCC) intervention. Taking time to understand where we are, where we want to go, and what will enable us to reach our goal is essential in devising a successful nutrition communication campaign. Resonating with this topic is the second webinar in Sight and Life’s Webinar Series “Assessing the Situation: What you Need to Know.” It is a valuable and timely reminder on the importance of understanding your target audience during the BCC planning process. 

During this enlightening dialogue Professor Cross spoke candidly about the existing myths regarding behavior change. For example, does education change behavior? What we know about education is how the information is presented, rather than the information itself, creates behavior change. Making learning tangible, personalized, and incorporating social interaction provides the greatest impact in behavior change.  

Another misconception is that one needs to change attitudes to change behaviors. Attitudes do not predict behavior! A more effective strategy is to connect to people’s values to set behavior expectations. The last myth is that people know the triggers that motivate them. Professor Cross argues this is not the case, as social norms have, by far, the greatest influence on human behavior. For instance, if you see someone select a healthy option at lunch, then you are more likely to follow suit. Understanding these constructs in human behavior is important because they are the core of developing successful nutrition communication campaigns.  Watch the TEDxCSU Talk below: 

Keep this principle thought in mind as you embark on the next steps in the BCC process presented in Sight and Life’s second webinar in the BCC Webinar Series. 

The Journey to Understanding your Audience 

Here are the questions to ask as you embark on step 2 and 3 in the BCC process:   
– What is it that I really need to know about my audience and the environment in which they live? 
– What works and does not? 
– How do I get to the core of what matters to my target audience? 

Webinar 2 walks through the typical knowledge needs required for a BCC intervention in nutrition, examines how to get the most out of each knowledge source and suggests approaches that enable a deep understanding of the target audience.  

BCC Process Step 2. The Desk Review 

Before beginning the desk review, be sure to answer the question, what is the purpose of this information and how do you plan to use it?  

The desk review encompasses three elements: 
– Exploring the broader context
– Reviewing the effectiveness of past experiences
– Understanding program context (reaching your target audience) 

In summary, elements 1 through 3 of the desk review help define the scope of your communication strategy. These identify the broad parameters and constraints to use when designing and delivering the intervention while also supporting the critical decisions when creating a communication strategy.  

BCC Process Step 3. Client Research 

The next step in the BCC process involves acquiring valuable insights from the target audience and communities you seek to change. We are again reminded of the BCC principle; know your audience!  

BCC, Nutritional Status, conceptual Model, behavior communicationDuring webinar 2 we share three key components in client research which support the gathering of comprehensive information on the target audience and factors that influence behaviors and practices; the inquiry framework (what do you need to know about the behaviors), applicable research methods (how to extract that information), and insight generation (moving from understanding behavior to finding deep, shared truths). 
BCC, Nutritional Status, conceptual Model, behavior communication
Consider the questions posed at the start of this blog: what do I need to know about my audience and the environment in which they live, what works or does not, and how do I get to the core of what matters to my target audience? Steps 2 and 3 help you answer these questions.  

Key Takeaways from Webinar 2 

– The BCC principle ‘know your audience’ lies at the core of developing successful nutrition communication campaigns.  
– Defining your knowledge needs, or simply what you need to know, is the first critical consideration.  
– Step 2 in the BCC process is about assessment, analysis, and synthesis of information to effectively answer questions on the broader context, the drivers and constraints for the target behavior and communication efforts previously employed to change the desired behavior.
– Client research, step 3 in the BCC process, involves gaining valuable insights from the target audience and communities that you seek to change. 

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Essential Reading on Behavior Change Communication (BCC)

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At Sight and Life, we are pleased to share knowledge and recommend resources that we find useful in our work. This is certainly the case with behavior change communication (BCC)! To continue learning about BCC while waiting for the upcoming webinar, we have collated an array of books, websites, and e-learning modules that are valuable resources. This is just our opinion but we hope theses recommendations can deepen your knowledge on BCC and provide though-provoking ideas and inspiration as it did for us. 

During the first webinar in the Sight and Life Webinar Series focusing on behavior change communication (BCC), we examine integrating BCC into nutrition programs. The key learnings are:

– BCC is a communication approach with distinct underlying principles, which make it a valuable part of nutrition programming.
– It is complicated but can be managed by taking a systematic approach.
– Consider the Sight and Life BBC process cycle as a tool to support planning your nutrition communication campaign.

Find the video and the complete slide deck here from the first Sight and Life webinar People eat food not nutrition: Integrating BCC into nutrition programs HERE.
Behavior change communications, BCC, SBCC 
On May 15th we will be hosting our second webinar Assessing the situation: What you need to know (please register HERE). In this webinar we will identify the typical knowledge needs for BCC intervention in nutrition. We will discuss how to get the most out of the knowledge sources, including written material (program reports, scientific papers), experienced program stakeholders, knowledgeable service providers, and of course, your target audience. Additionally, learn tips for tailoring formative research to generate insights on the factors driving eating behaviors.

Our Recommendations on BCC

E- learning:

1. This interactive course by Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally project (SPRING) will guide you through narrated slides, quizzes, exercises, handouts, videos, and links to helpful resources. This course will help you understand agriculture’s role in improving nutrition, learn how to use behavior change methods to prioritize and promote nutrition-sensitive agriculture practices, and develop a behavior change strategy for current and future agriculture projects. Find it HERE.

Reading

2. Read this work SPRING; Evidence of Effective Approaches to Social and Behavior Change for Preventing and Reducing Stunting and Anemia to learn the findings from a systematic literature review. 

Lamstein, S.,T. Stillman, P. Koniz-Booher, A.Aakesson, B. Collaiezzi,T.Williams, K. Beall, and M.Anson. 2014. Evidence of Effective Approaches to Social and Behavior Change Communication for Preventing and Reducing Stunting and Anemia: Report from a Systematic Literature Review. Arlington,VA: USAID/ Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) Project.

Toolkit

3. Behavior Change Toolkit  – for International Development Practitioners
This behavior change toolkit is a useful, well written and simple introduction to BCC. A great resource for those starting their learning journey on BCC. The toolkit can be downloaded HERE.

Books

4. Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Richard H. Thaler, and Cass R. Sunstein.
A book from the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics, Richard H. Thaler, and Cass R. Sunstein: it is a revelatory look at how we make decisions. The authors examine the process of how people think, and suggest that we can use sensible “choice architecture” to nudge people toward the best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our society, without restricting our freedom of choice. Nudge is really about the small, subtle pushes that our modern-day world makes to sway one’s opinion or real-world choices.

Why it’s on our Kindle’s
To succeed in behavioral change we must be able to offer people better, more favorable and less costly choices to what they are currently doing. To reduce the consumption of junk food in teenagers for example, we must be able to design alternatives that are equally desirable. Therefore, we must build an architecture that will encourage people to change their habits and follow our behavioral goals. We loved reading the real life examples in this book and learning how simple, thoughtful ‘nudges’ can help people change a variety of behaviors. Find it HERE
 
5. The Power of HabitWhy We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg 
In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. It uses research to explain how habits are formed and changed. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. 

Why we think it’s an essential read for BCC
We recommend The Power of Habit as an easy and fun to read introduction into the science of habit formation and the art of attempting to change them. As nutrition program managers, most of the time, our challenges go beyond changing people’s behaviors. Changing what and how people eat requires us to understanding people’s daily habits and then help them to adopt new routines. This book an excellent foundation to understand the particulars of habits. Buy your copy HERE.  

6. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. The Tipping Point explains the phenomenon of why some products, businesses, authors, etc. become hugely successful (tip) while others never seem to break apart from the masses as anything special. Buy your copy HERE.

Why we think it’s relevant to BCC
We think The Tipping Point is a great read to understand how change happens and what makes a behavior tip. Successful interventions and campaigns aimed at changing people’s routines have certain critical characteristic in common: They manage to gain followers, naturally mobilize the audience, and make the behavior contagious instead of imposing it. These initiatives succeed in making the behavior desirable, the message exciting and memorable – like a jingle that naturally ‘sticks’ – and they understand that ‘little things’ in people’s lives matter.

Happy reading!

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Incorporating Behavior Change Communication (BCC) into Nutrition Programs

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If you are reading this blog then, in one way or another, you are interested in changing people’s behavior for better health outcomes. The Sight and Life Inaugural Webinar Series on behavior change communication (BCC) might be just the informative source you are looking for to expand your knowledge. 

What is BCC? 

BCC is a communication approach, one of many communication approaches available to nutrition professionals. It is distinct from other approaches, such as nutrition education or health promotion, for the following reasons:

– It is an emergent process that culminates with the implementation of a BCC strategy 
– The process draws heavily on research and evidence
– The BCC strategy is focused on what the audience needs to do (versus what the audience must know)
– The BCC strategy is integrated with programs and services.

Interested in learning further? Join our first webinar in the series “People eat food not nutrition: Integrating BCC into your nutrition program” to understand more about these principles underlying BCC.  

It’s a Process

For a program manager, BCC might seem like a complicated undertaking, and for many of you, it is about managing others to do this work. BCC is complicated but it can be mastered if you have a systematic approach. Throughout this webinar series we follow an 8-step process cycle for BCC and share tips, checklists, tools, and resources to help you succeed in managing BCC. Completing the webinar series will not make you a BCC expert, however, it will make you BCC literate.

Behavior change communications, BCC, SBCC, process cycle, nutrition

The first webinar introduces step one of the BCC process, setting your BCC goals and behavior objectives. Straightforward, right? An important learning, from our experience, is to separate your program goal from your BCC goal, as they are not necessarily the same. Your BCC goals will focus on practices or behaviors while program goals might focus on a specific health outcome, such as anemia.

Another learning has been to distinguish between “practices” and “behaviors”; practices consist of multiple behaviors and actions. Once you have distinguished practices from behaviors, setting your BCC goal and behavior objectives is easy. We have developed a behavior chain tool to help you detect the multiple behaviors in a practice.

Behavior chain is a simple tool used to identify the factors or activities required to achieve a target behavior. 

For example a micronutrient powder (MNP) intervention, where the BCC goal might be appropriate use of MNP (a practice), the behavior chain tool would look like this:

[START] 1. Aware of MNP 2. value the MNP 3. get to distribution point 4. ask for MNP at distribution point 5. mix MNP with child meal (at the right consistency) (as per frequency indicated on package) [FINISH]. 

Asking for MNP at a point of distribution would be a behavior, as would mix with meals. Voila – two behavior objectives emerge. The objectives are not set in stone. You can modify them as you gather evidence and clues about your target audience in steps 2 and 3. Remember- only set a few objectives because less is more!

Next Steps 

So how do you feel about BCC after reading this blog – empowered to tackle BCC? Eager to learn more? Register for the Sight and Life Webinar Series on BCC below:

Webinar 1 | Tuesday April, 24 at 14:00 CET
People eat food not nutrition: Integrating BCC into nutrition programs

Some key learnings as we begin our first webinar in the series: 

– BCC is a communication approach with distinct underlying principles, which make it a valuable part of nutrition programming. 
– It is complicated but can be managed by taking a systematic approach. 
– This series provides a high-level analysis of BCC that enables you, the participant, to become BCC literate. 

Webinar 2 | Tuesday, May 15 at 14:00 CET
Assessing the situation: What you need to know

Webinar 3 | Tuesday, June 5 at 14:00 CET
BCC Strategy and Roll out: The devil’s in the detail 

Webinar 4 | Tuesday, June 26 at 14:00 CET
Monitoring the Process: Does it work?

****Note you need to sign-up for each individual webinar. Therefore, if you would like to attend each of the four webinars in the series you must register four times. ****

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