13,549 Shifting Norms: Selections from the SBCC Summit, The Drum Beat, 758, June 6 2018

The Drum BeatShifting Norms: Selections from the SBCC Summit – The Drum Beat 758
June 6, 2018
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In this issue:

Norms theory and learningWhat works in VAWG preventionCulturally wise HIV videoReflection for maternal healthBreaking culture of menstruation silenceTransforming schoolsTV drama and genderIMAGESStories for sonsMusic for FPSport and SRHCritique of the draft Declaration from a norms perspectiveTake the survey

From The Communication Initiative Network – where communication and media are central to social and economic development.
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Shifting norms was one of the 3 main areas of focus at What Works? The 2018 International Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Summit featuring Entertainment Education, April 16-18 2018. The framing document [PDF] for the Summit positioned norms this way:

“This conference is organized to understand better what works in shifting social norms, changing behaviors and in amplifying the voice of those who have most at stake in the success of development efforts. And it is designed to wrestle with the profound issues of social justice and agenda setting that affect these decisions….[H]ow much emphasis should be placed on shifting norms and behaviors when power structures, policy environments or lack of services may constitute problems that overwhelm the capacity of individuals or communities to act?”

Some of the presentations at the Summit with a focus on “shifting norms” follow. You can search for others in the collection of all Summit presentations at this link.


  • 1Presentations from the Advancing Research & Practice on Normative Change for Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health and Well-being – Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) at Georgetown University (GU)

    * Bringing Theory into Social Norms Programming: Conceptual Model for Intervention Design & Evaluation [PDF – begins on page 1]
    Presented by Anjalee Kohli
    * Advancing Learning of Norms Measurement: The What, How, and Where of What We are Up To [PDF – begins on page 22]
    Presented by Betsy Costenbader
    * How Can We Take to Scale Norms-Focused Interventions: Some Considerations [PDF – begins on page 52]
    Presented by Susan Igras
    These presentations describe the work of an international learning collaborative/theory community joining together individuals and organisations who are working on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) norm change initiatives so as to enhance collective efforts, build knowledge, and develop shared tools to promote and guide effective social norm theory, measurement, and practice at scale. One question the collaborative is exploring: What are norms-focused interventions, and how do they differ from other social and behaviour change (SBC) interventions?

  • 2What Works for Social Norm Change to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) [PDF]
    Presented by Sarah McCook, The Equality Institute
    Having explained the concepts of social and gender norms and the connection to VAWG, this presentation shares lessons from practice around creating new positive norms/expectations. For example, awareness campaigns can backfire by sending the message that violence is normal or common. In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the term “Imaginarios sociales” is used to mean something like social norms and worldview combined. This framework has been used as the basis for power mapping and developing theories of change. Oxfam is collaborating with 2 partners – Coordinadora de la Mujer & Colectivo Rebeldia – in the co-creation and implementation of the campaign “Actúa”, which was launched in 3 cities in Bolivia in February 2018, with a focus on shifting social norms around romantic love amongst young people – jealousy, control, male protection. It involves a combination of offline and online actions: street art, hip hop, skate, peer-to-peer networks, social experiments, TV celebrity slots, and GIFs, memes, and the Facebook community. Among the learnings so far: Groups of young people are already modelling alternative behaviours and social norms and challenging the status quo. “Make this visible through the campaign!”
  • 3“The Fire Is Coming” Maasai HIV Education Video: Using Cultural Wisdom for Behavioral Change [PDF]
    Presented by Holly Freitas, ReachGlobal
    A project used video to challenge social norms that put the Maasai people, a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, at risk for HIV (example: ongoing “secret” sexual partnerships between married women and warrior boyfriends). Created in partnership with a community-based organisation that was highly motivated to bring HIV prevention messages to their people, the approach involved unscripted orators and actors familiar with the relevant themes presenting culturally relevant stories, songs, analogies, and proverbs that speak of Maasai cultural wisdom. The idea was to embrace social norms that build community solutions; Maasai are collective rather than individual decision makers, and elders in the community and family determine what will be done. A modified Precaution Adoption Process Model (PARM) created a foundation for the SBCC tool, which involved training for facilitators and discussion guides that led to community conversations after videos were screened.
  • 4Addressing Social and Gender Norms to Improve Uptake of Maternal Health Services in Mali: CARE’s Project Hope for Mothers and Newborns (PEMN) [PDF]
    Presented by Anne Sprinkel, CARE
    Social, gender, and power norms in the Mopti context involve social and cultural pressures exerted through key influencers and male-dominated decision-making in Mali. CARE’s Project Hope for Mothers and Newborns (PEMN) utilised a case-control methodology to examine the additive effect of conducting both quality of care and social norm interventions on maternal health care utilisation. The social norms package centred around Critical Reflection and Dialogue (CRD), starting with staff and entailing community involvement through the Keneya [“Health”] Committee. This CRD process, coupled with activities that in themselves challenged norms, “provided an invaluable platform for critical thinking, communication and motivation for change”. In the end, there was a significantly higher incidence of antenatal care (ANC) visits, which took place half a month earlier in the intervention district, as well as a 27-percentage-point difference in women having a safe birth plan prior to delivery.

Access What Works? Summit Presentations

Click here and follow the instructions to access all the presentations from the Summit.

In order that the numerous Summit presentations are located and accessible as an integral part of a comprehensive platform, network, and community for this field of work, The CI will be incorporating many of them within our Groups process over the next few months. But you can access all of those submitted by presenters at this link at this time.


  • 5Don’t Let a Period End a Sentence, Let It Start a Conversation. A Mixed Method Approach to Unpacking the Role of Social Networks in Social and Behavior Change [PDF]
    Presented by Suruchi Sood, Drexel University
    “Interpersonal communication can alter social norms by first breaking the silence around taboo topics. With continued communication, topics once considered taboo can become common place.” In India, there is a culture of silence around menstruation, with 8% to 67% of adolescent girls never having heard of menstruation before menarche. Among other issues, this reinforces widespread misconceptions that menstrual blood is “dirty” and that women are impure during menstruation. GARIMA is an SBCC intervention with the end goal of fostering an environment where girls can practice adequate menstrual hygiene management (MHM) with dignity. It revolves around participatory social network mapping, which provides a deeper understanding of communication than traditional individual interviews. Through this dialogue, “Adolescent girls talked openly about a taboo topic and shared the type of conversations and messages they received relating to MHM. By hearing how their peers engage with others about menstruation, participants can evaluate where they stand in comparison to their peers and perhaps feel more apt to form new menstruation social network contacts.”
  • 6Transforming Schools to Challenge Social Norms around Violence against Children: The Case of Moldova [PDF]
    Presented by Sergiu Tomsa, UNICEF
    Qualitative research on violence in Moldova, 2014, found that many parents feel the pressure from others to punish their children; if they refuse, they may be perceived as weak. Domestic violence is not seen to be the business of the school, but, instead, a family issue; parents know best. In fact, interfering or reporting violence is seen as socially unacceptable. Many teachers shared the community’s perceptions on violence, so UNICEF – with the Ministry of Education in the driving seat and a child rights non-governmental organisation (NGO) bringing expertise, including from abroad (Romania) – sought to build schools’ capacities to prevent and address violence as a way to change communities’ expectations on violence. A year of continuous engagement with teachers focused, among other things, on empowering teachers and changing their self-perception (community models and agents of change with the power to influence destinies) and equipping them with guidelines and tools (how to engage with students; how to promote non-violence in schools; how to communicate with parents). Among the results: less tolerance of violence (“I was so blind before! Now I see it clearly.” – teacher). Around 10,000 suspected cases of violence were registered and reported through schools (after 1 year).
  • 7Adhafull: An Evaluation [PDF]
    Presented by Sonia Whitehead, BBC Media Action, Dr. Lauren B. Frank, Portland State University, and Dr. Joyee S. Chatterjee, Asian Institute of Technology
    Implemented by BBC Media Action with funding from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), AdhaFULL is a “whodunit” television drama with goals including altering the way young people in India see themselves and influencing the expectations that are set for them by their reference networks (e.g., family, friends, and other local people of influence). One research question: What influence (if any) did AdhaFULL have on girls’ and boys’ rejection of established gender norms? Researchers were encouraged to see that change (especially among boys) is possible after a short viewing, but gender norms are entrenched and measurement tricky.
  • 8IMAGES in Tanzania: Adolescent Attitudes & Social Norms About Relationships & Violence [PDF]
    Presented by Nina Ford, Promundo-US, and Cari Jo Clark, Emory University
    IMAGES (International Men and Gender Equality Survey) is a comprehensive study on men’s and women’s realities, attitudes, and practices across a wide range of gender-related topics. As part of IMAGES, over 60,000 interviews have been carried out in more than 30 countries; the resulting data are used to inform evidence-based programming and advocacy efforts. In Tanzania, IMAGES tested a cross-level interaction between village-level norms and young men’s attitudes on young men’s perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV). One conclusion: Collective empirical expectations may be related to young men’s IPV perpetration. IMAGES was found to be a promising social norms measurement tool, but formal psychometric testing is needed.



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This issue of The Drum Beat was written by Kier Olsen DeVries.
The Drum Beat is the email and web network of The Communication Initiative Partnership.

Full list of the CI Partners:
ANDIBBC Media ActionBernard van Leer FoundationBreakthroughCiturna TVFundación ImaginarioFundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI)Heartlines,Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication ProgramsMaternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP)MISAOpen Society FoundationsOxfam NovibPAHOThe Panos InstitutePuntos de EncuentroSAfAIDSSesame WorkshopSoul CitySTEPS InternationalUNAIDSUNICEFUniversidad de los Andes,World Health Organization (WHO)W.K. Kellogg Foundation

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The Editor of The Drum Beat is Kier Olsen DeVries.
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