Nutrition Social and Behavior Change Strategy Library

SPRING’s curated collection of useful resources to design, implement, and monitor nutrition behavior change programs

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This library includes resources from SPRING's work to help social and behavior change (SBC) practitioners design, implement, and monitor effective SBC interventions for nutrition. If you are a nutrition program manager, these resources can also help you to gain a deeper understanding of what applying SBC approaches looks like operationally. Each resource includes a brief explanation on its purpose and how it can be used, along with a file that can be downloaded and adapted. 

Most of the resources in this library are internal process documents. For more formal guidance and tools, see SPRING’s work catalyzing social and behavior change for nutrition and how to do at-scale nutrition SBC within the context of USAID’s Multi-sectoral Nutrition Strategy.

Steps for Developing an SBC Strategy

A well-designed SBC strategy guides the use of resources for effective SBC efforts, whether at project or national level. An SBC strategy is a means to an end—the time spent on developing an SBC strategy should not detract from the time spent on actual SBC activities, but a good SBC strategy can also help achieve buy-in from project leadership and other key stakeholders, ultimately improving the quality and effectiveness of SBC efforts. 

The resources included in this library are presented in the context of the steps of a typical process for desigining an SBC Strategy. Click on the title below to review the steps or go straight to the SBC strategy resource categories further down.

Typical Process for Designing Social and Behavior Change Strategies

Below is a list of typical steps for developing a strategy. Developing an SBC strategy is an iterative process - a team will rarely begin at point one and proceed in order down a list. A good planning process often will jump across different steps in different sequences until the strategy is completed.

1. Identify behaviors related to project objectives

It is important to begin with evidence-based behaviors related to the project objectives. For example, a project aimed at reducing anemia may prioritize the use of iron supplements or deworming medication.

2. Gather available data

To identify priority behaviors and appropriate social behavior change communication (SBCC) approaches, program designers need to understand the causes of malnutrition in the local context, and the needs of specific populations. This includes:

  1. A review of interventions currently being implemented in the country or project area that might directly or indirectly affect nutrition.
  2. Formative research to identify the factors that discourage or encourage key behaviors, design the overall strategy, and develop messages (where appropriate).

3. Draft the strategy

A comprehensive SBC strategy usually includes the following elements:

  1. Clearly defined and prioritized behaviors that will be promoted. Evidence confirms that SBCC interventions are most effective when they promote a limited number of “doable” actions at one time.
  2. Project interventions to bring about sustained changes in priority behaviors. These should be based on a clear, logical understanding of how the interventions will lead to outputs; outcomes; and, eventually, impacts.
  3. A program monitoring plan that includes specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) indicators.
  4. Clearly defined target populations, including the priority group(s) of people expected to adopt and maintain the priority behaviors, and the groups of people that influence the priority group, such as partners, families, peers, or local leaders.
  5. A communication plan that includes a mix of strategies, channels, and delivery platforms and effective training resources, job aids, media, and materials for engaging the proposed priority group.

4. Further refine project activities

Consider using both communication and non-communication activities to reduce barriers and build on enablers for action. Most effective SBC strategies include a mix of communication and non-communication activities, such as—

  • Interpersonal communication, including—but not limited to—facility-based counseling, agriculture extension, home visits, and support groups
  • Community mobilization, including fairs, contests, and dialogues, as well as community radio and video production and dissemination events
  • Social marketing of technologies or commodities (e.g., home water treatment or fortified foods)
  • Mass media campaigns, such as television dramas, radio broadcasts, or print media
  • Systems strengthening, to improve access to and quality of goods and services)
  • Behavioral economics, that take into account the psychology associated with making choices and the conscious and unconscious mental processes that drive decisions
  • Advocating social, policy, or financial incentives or disincentives to behavior change, such as workplace environments that are friendly to breastfeeding or taxing sugary beverages to discourage consumption
  • Advocacy conducted at the community level, up to the national level, among decision-makers and policymakers

SBC Strategy Resource Categories

SBC strategy documents

An SBC strategy focuses project resources on agreed priorities, and guides staff and partner activities to maximize the uptake of priority practices among primary and influencing groups.

Design workshop agendas

Strategy design workshops help to ensure that data, including formative research findings, are used in a structured way to inform SBC activities. They elicit inputs and generate buy-in from implementers, decision-makers, community members, and other stakeholders.

Strategy templates

When developing an SBC strategy, a strategy template can help frame discussions within a project team and with other stakeholders. For example it’s useful to have an agreed strategy template going into a design workshop.
  • Lesson Plan and Template: Developing an SBC Strategy for Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture (MS Word, 50 KB)
    Adapted from Accelerating Behavior Change in Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture, SPRING, 2017. This lesson plan walks nutrition-sensitive agriculture project designers and implementers through the key elements of an SBC strategy template, which guides the process of incorporating findings from formative research and inputs from partners and other stakeholders in a structured way.
  • Lesson Plan and Template: Overview of the DBC Framework (MS Word, 121 KB)
    Excerpt from Designing for Behavior Change: For Agriculture, Natural Resource Management, Health and Nutrition, TOPS, 2013. This lesson plan from Designing for Behavior Change for Agriculture, Natural Resource Management, Health and Nutrition introduces learners to the Designing for Behavior Change Framework. The strategy template can be useful to structure inputs from stakeholders during SBC design processes and ensure a common understanding of SBC activities and objectives.

Communication plan templates

A multi-channel communications plan is usually a key component within a broader SBC Strategy. Communication plans should clearly link specific channels, approaches, and materials with behavioral objectives targeted towards priority and influencing groups.

Monitoring plan templates

During SBC strategy design it is important to consider how implementers and other stakeholders will monitor implementation and evaluate success. Monitoring of SBC activities should be integrated into a project’s overall monitoring and evaluation plan.

Scopes of Work (SOW) including creative briefs

Projects sometimes call in external individuals or firms to provide specialized services such as materials design/creation, managing mass and social media campaigns, or conducting formative research and analysis. Scopes of work and creative briefs help to ensure that both project staff and external consultants have clear mutual expectations of outputs, deadlines, costs, and approval authority.

Scopes of Work

  • Sample SOW for Developing a Project SBC Strategy (MS Word, 45 KB)
    This scope of work includes many of the activities that projects might hire external consultants or agencies to do as part of the process of developing  a  social and behavior change strategy. It can be adapted to multiple sectors and tailored to specific implementation contexts and project needs.
  • Sample SOW for a Creative Agency to Develop Media and Materials (MS Word, 76 KB)
    This scope of work guided a Ugandan creative agency in developing a social mobilization campaign for Uganda's National Advocacy and Communication Strategy to promote household nutrition practices during the first 1,000 days.
  • Sample SOW for a Media Firm to Manage Mass and Social Media Communication (MS Word, 103 KB)
    This scope of work was used by SPRING/Uganda to hire a media agency to support the implementation of the media component of a micro-nutrient powder communications campaign.

Creative Briefs

  • Template: Creative Brief (MS Word, 37 KB)
    This template guides development of a creative brief to ensure that communication materials are clearly linked to behavioral objectives for specific groups of people, and that they are clear, memorable, and persuasive.  It is suitable for materials across multiple sectors, from individual to national level.
  • Sample Creative Brief for Social Mobilization Media and Materials (Uganda) (MS Word, 73 KB)
    Creative briefs help ensure the creative process is grounded in evidence and good public health practice. This example involves radio spots and outdoor media as part of Uganda’s National Advocacy and Communication Strategy to promote household level nutrition practices during the first 1,000 days.