Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
The collective power of people to transform the social and political structures that govern their lives is the true heart of development. Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) engages and supports people to shift norms, change behaviours, and amplify the voices needed to address the persistent development challenges the world faces today: extreme poverty, gender inequities, public health emergencies, acute and chronic diseases, climate change, and democracy and governance among others.
Many development results – like those outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – need people to do and sometimes think about things differently. Reducing maternal mortality depends on pregnant women having a check-up even when their relatives might disapprove of them doing so. Reducing the impact of climate change depends on people knowing how to adopt new agricultural techniques, or how to raise their homes above the flood level. Improving the status of girls and women in society requires that societies change their view of girls and women.
This conference is organised to understand better what works in shifting social norms, changing behaviours 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. Who decides, for example, what behaviours need changing or which norms should be shifted? How can people’s realities and voices be put at the centre of such change? And how much emphasis should be placed on shifting norms and behaviours when power structures, policy environments or lack of services may constitute problems that overwhelm the capacity of individuals or communities to act?
This conference stands on the shoulders of an inaugural SBCC Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February 2016. Over 750 people gathered at the Addis conference, which focused on the “Art and Science of Social and Behaviour Change” and highlighted the diversity and richness of different approaches being used.
The 2018 conference will focus on making sense of this diversity, and especially on understanding which approaches work best.
This conference plans to address the following two key challenges:
Challenge 1: What works
The increasing relevance of SBCC to 21st century development challenges is being accompanied by a recognition of the evidence that supports it. However, donors and others who support the field, and development policy makers who want to prioritise it, face major challenges in understanding what works and what does not work, what they can expect from an investment in this area, and how to explain its impact to sometimes skeptical publics.
Challenge 2: Making Sense of Now
There is no shortage of ideas or initiative when it comes to using communication to achieve social and behaviour change. The modern field of SBCC is a product of decades of innovation and involves traditions as diverse as commercial marketing, participatory media, creative media production, civil society advocacy, not to mention the different strands rooted in the diverse public health, agriculture, governance, rights, and other development fields where media and communication have been considered important. The innovation generated by new ideas and approaches has sometimes been seen to be in tension with the growing focus and necessity for generating evidence of what works and what doesn’t. The conference will seek to discuss such tensions.
How the Summit will be organised
The Summit, with a core focus on understanding and responding to the needs of the people, will be organised around three intersecting strands:
- The What Works Strand: This principal strand of the conference will focus on what works in shifting norms, changing behaviours and amplifying voice.
- Making Sense of Now Strand: A series of panels and debates will be organised to better understand the current state of SBCC in relation to current development challenges, and to reflect on how SBCC is organised and conceptualised.
- The Voice and Agenda Setting Strand: A series of conversations will be organised to look to the future and will be designed to: identify what policies need to be created or changed; identify the conditions that are needed to ensure greater investment in SBCC; relate this work to larger power structures and policy environments; and generate stronger South-South and South-North cooperation.
This Summit is being planned by a small secretariat that includes the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, The Communication Initiative, Soul City Institute, UNICEF, and BBC Media Action with guidance from a Steering Committee that also includes Minga Peru, Citurna, Imaginario, DASRA, Pambazuko Mashinani, Feminahip, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, KPP-PA, CCP Pakistan, PSI, and Wellcome Trust.