Social And Behavior Change

Social and behavior change (SBC) approaches and tactics play a critical role in promotion of appropriate infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices, health seeking behavior, and, detection of wasting and adherence to nutritional treatment. Understanding social norms, other barriers and positive factors that influence individual behaviors is an essential prerequisite to designing effective SBC initiatives for improved nutrition outcomes. Developing SBC interventions grounded on SBC theories and scientific evidence is key for designing effective behavior change activities for nutrition programming.

Social And Behavior Change for Improved Nutrition

In emergency contexts, fear and confusion (for example around the safety of breastfeeding in case the child or the mother is affected with COVID-19) could cause a serious setback to efforts in IYCF interventions, unless addressed in a timely and credible manner. Similarly, for complementary feeding, especially during disease outbreaks, the fear of contamination could shift food preferences towards unsuitable packaged food, which are often unhealthy. Promotion of healthy and balanced food choices would hence need to be prioritized.

Lessons from previous experiences such as from the Ebola outbreak, highlight the significant role of social and behavior change and the need to move away from top-down information sharing and towards ensuring that messages are tailored by considering local beliefs and cultural context. In the case of disease outbreak, tracking and addressing rumors and misinformation to adapt strategies to the local context would also need to be made a priority.

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Key Resources