Triggering for positive behaviour change in nutrition

Triggering for positive behaviour change in nutrition

The potential of millions of children can be unlocked with good nutrition. Inadequate care and feeding practices, food insecurity, inequitable gender relations, an unhealthy household environment and inadequate health services are all leading contributors to early childhood malnutrition. Each of these underlying factors of undernutrition is heavily influenced on the one hand by external factors in the food environment, but also by behaviours related to food production and purchase, intrahousehold food distribution, care practices and hygiene.

Behaviour is complex. Currently, one of the best-known strategies for improving the impact of nutrition-sensitive interventions, including agriculture, and particularly effective in preventing stunting, is Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC). SBCC is a behaviour-centred approach to facilitating communities, households and individuals in understanding, adopting and sustaining improved nutritionrelated practices. Demand for such practices from the households and the communities is dependent on knowledge, awareness, motivation to act, familiarity and habituation, which are often influenced by perceptions of social norms, attitudes and beliefs. Much of the existing nutrition-related SBCC effort has focused on increasing knowledge, awareness raising and/or sharing information; however some SBCC actors are using more participatory approaches to move beyond awareness to engage emotions and harness motivators. “Triggering”, which is illustrated in this paper, is one such approach.

Recognising the importance of demand creation and SBCC, SNV, together with the Centre for Development Innovation of Wageningen UR (CDI) and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) developed the Sustainable Nutrition for All (SN4A) project.

This technical brief provides an overview of community SBCC and triggering on positive nutrition and hygiene behaviours. It summarises some key insights and findings from SN4A in Zambia and Uganda, and aims to assist policymakers, practitioners and researchers in understanding the approaches and tools used and guide their investments in demand triggering and SBCC. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with governance staff, nutrition action groups (NAGs) and community members in November 2016 and in June 2017 and the findings are presented in the SN4A Technical Brief No.2. Policy recommendations based on the impact evaluation will be published in the upcoming Sustainable Nutrition for All policy brief.

The technical brief is published in two forms, the full length brief and a short summary with the policy recommendations.

This paper is the second in a series of six based on learnings from the Sustainable Nutrition for All project in Uganda and Zambia.