The Communication Initiative Networks
convening the communication and media development, social and behaviour change community
Subject: C-19 – Frustrating, Infuriating … Reinvent
I’ve heard colleagues expressing surprise and frustration over the fact that the world seems not to have learned the lessons of decades of excellent communication efforts to change behaviors around hand-washing, social distancing, etc. to prevent or reduce contagion and pandemics.
It is frustrating, even infuriating – all that research, all those behavior and social change strategies, all those wonderful campaigns, all that funding… for naught? It certainly feels that way amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, in which many of the lessons of the past seem to have been lost and risk and SBCC communication have to be taught and learned all over again.
But reading this article in today’s NY Times reminded me of the remarkable tenacity and perverse attraction of social norms and belief systems that resist science and health in almost all countries and contexts. These examples of harmful norms and social determinants dressed up in the garb of religion are part of what we are up against.
I think they go a long way to explain why we must reinvent our practice and engage with communities in new ways, so that we aren’t eternally frustrated and puzzled as to why so many people aren’t adopting the behaviors generations of communicators have promoted.
PS – I think this should be part of this thread: Slowing down the covid-19 outbreak: changing behaviour by understanding it
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Mar 24 2020 – 9:21pm