A range of food and nutrition security projects across Africa but also in Asia are implementing nutrition interventions promoting behaviours that are proven to protect and improve people’s lives, such as consumption of diverse diets, exclusive breastfeeding or handwashing with soap.
To enable people to adopt these behaviours a variety of social and behaviour change activities and approaches are being used. To consolidate these experiences, the study Social and Behaviour Change Lessons Learned from the Global Programme Food and Nutrition Security, Enhanced Resilience – WHAT HAS (NOT) WORKED? summarizes key lessons learned with respect to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of social and behaviour change activities. Included are experiences from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Malawi and Zambia.
„Knowledge often does not lead to behaviour change,” was one of the key lessons learned regarding the knowledge versus action gap. Increasing knowledge such as on good handwashing practices alone does not automatically lead to a habit of more frequent washing of hands with soap. “We need to understand the real reasons why some people do (not) practice a behaviour and address them.”
“Engage locally respected people, such as village chiefs, in the promotion of the desired behaviours. Their influence can make your work more effective,” is another piece of advice from the study. Locally designed, accepted and context-made solutions are crucial, too.
Behaviour change is a process that might take some time. Furthermore, it’s important to constantly evaluate and adapt interventions. “One of the best things a programme manager can do is to encourage all staff to be continuously ‘curious’ about why some people do or do not practice the promoted behaviours and use these insights in their work.”
The study shall be used to further enhance the impact of social and behaviour change programming across GIZ projects as well as to make these lessons available to other development partners and actors working to improve food and nutrition security.
Annekathrin Rosa (Sector Programme Agricultural Policy and Food and Nutrition Security)
Susanne Schultz (Global Programme Food and Nutrition Security, Enhanced Resilience)