Social and Behaviour Change (SBC)
An evidence-based strategic process promoting the adoption and maintenance of positive behaviours and social change
Social and Behaviour Change (SBC), also known as Communication for Development (C4D), is a core programme implementation strategy that aims to promote positive and measurable behaviour and social change. It is at its very essence about engaging children, adolescents, and communities to exercise their rights and unlock solutions that will create change for themselves, their families, and their communities. SBC unpacks how people make decisions about their behaviour, the context in which decisions are made and how to facilitate change in these behaviours (both individual and collective).
UNICEF recognises that changing knowledge is not enough to change behaviours. Various factors shape the way we come to understand and interact with our world and influence how we navigate choices. These factors may be social, like the norms that fuel discrimination and drive communities to comply with harmful practices. They may be psychological, like the mental models that determine what we perceive to be desirable, even possible.
Therefore, SBC adopts a participatory approach in engaging with local stakeholders, and utilises social and behavioural data and behavioural theory to understand individual needs and motivations in order to develop context-specific, people-centered solutions aiming to overcome existing challenges that hamper the adoption of desired behaviours.
How has SBC been used in UNICEF?
Over the past three decades, UNICEF has spearheaded SBC initiatives in health and development issues, particularly in the promotion of children’s health, nutrition, protection and education. The Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need and importance of social and behaviour change strategies to promote the adoption of preventive behaviours to curb the spread of the virus and the adoption of new norms. Overall, SBC has successfully been used to promote handwashing to reduce child illness; improved child nutrition to reduce stunting, obesity and wasting; eliminated child marriage and violence against children, and prevented girls from dropping out of school.
UNICEF believes that long term behaviour and social change requires an understanding of how dynamic relations and underlying contextual factors, such as culture norms and government policies, influence one’s behaviour decisions. Single interventions without a comprehensive scientific strategy and policy framework are unlikely to promote long-lasting change in social behaviour. Moreover, maintaining social and behaviour change requires collaboration at multiple levels in society and putting people at the center of programmes - from design to implementation to evaluation. It implies engaging communities at every planning step, improving interventions through an iterative and participative process and measuring the achieved social and behavioural outcomes.
SBC in Malaysia
UNICEF Malaysia aims to create long-lasting behaviour and social change to create a more equitable, inclusive, cohesive and peaceful society. UNICEF’s SBC work in Malaysia has focused on five priority areas:
Generating social and behavioural evidence and data to inform policies and practices
Building institutional capacity in SBC planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation
Establishing strategic partnerships to mainstream SBC approaches within government, private sector and CSO institutions
Developing and implementing Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) strategies to strengthen programmatic outcomes
Developing and designing Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) strategies to manage emergency crises
The sustainability of social and behavioural outcomes will depend on the SBC capacity of UNICEF staff, governments, academia, and CSO partners to ensure quality SBC planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation at both national and subnational levels. To build the institutional SBC capacity in Malaysia, UNICEF has established partnerships with three national universities to serve as a knowledge hub to generate social and behavioural data, mainstream SBC into academic curricula, provide advisory and training services to government, CSO and private sector partners, and develop a pool of local SBC practitioners in the nation.
UMS-UNICEF Communication for Development (C4D) Research Unit
UKM x UNICEF Communication for Development (C4D), HEALTHCOMM
UPM-UNICEF Health Communication for Development (C4D) Programme
Marginalised Women, Children, and Youths in Sabah
Health and well-being
Addressing Inequality (Gender, Education, Poverty)
Public Health Behaviour and Practices
Stigma and Discrimination
Find out more