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Behaviour Change Techniques & Communication

Home > Programmes > Behaviour Change Techniques & Communication


Behaviour Change Techniques & Communication

Behavior change has become a central objective of public health interventions over the last half decade, as the influence of prevention within the health services has increased. The increased influence of prevention has coincided with increased multi-lateral and bi-lateral aid in the area of human development, and the increased need for the international development community to show cost-effectiveness for allocated dollars spent.

Behavior change programs, which have evolved over time, encompass a broad range of activities and approaches, which focus on the individual, community, and environmental influences on behavior.

Behavior change programs tend to focus on a few theories which gained ground in 1980s. These theories share a major commonality in defining individual actions as the locus of change. Behavior change programs usually focus on activities that help a person or a community to reflect upon their risk behaviors and change them to reduce their risk and vulnerability are known as interventions.


"Social marketing works to help people change their behaviors to become healthier or to improve society or the world in some way. On the continuum of methods to bring about health and social change are the two used most often: education, which uses rational facts to persuade people to change their behaviors, and coercion, which forces people to adopt a behavior under threat of penalty for not doing so. Somewhere in between those two points lies social marketing -- the use of commercial marketing methods to persuade people to change their behaviors for reasons that go beyond the rational facts to appeal to their core values. So often, people know exactly what they should be doing and why, and they still disregard what their head tells them. Social marketing adds heart back into the mix and utilizes emotional appeals to resonate with the part of the brain that determines what people actually do, as opposed to what they know they should do."  Nedra Weinreich


Name: Behaviour Change
Theme:  Community & Safe Water Management Region and Country: Maharashtra, India
Partners: Beneficiaries:
Funding Need: Budget:
Duration: Contact:

Programme Activities:
Intended Results:
Programme Management and Implementation:
Programme Monitoring and Evaluation:
Learning and Dissemination:


Related Resources:

Safe Water Systems for the Developing World: A Handbook for Implementing Household-Based Water Treatment and Safe Storage Projects was produced by the CARE/CDC Health Initiative, the CDC Foundation, CARE USA, the Estes Park Rotary Club and the Gangarosa International Health Foundation through a contract with Patricia Whitesell Shirey, ACT International, Atlanta, Ga. USA.

7.0 - Plan strategy for changing behavior

7.1 - Conduct formative research
7.2 - Identify specific target audiences
7.3 - Plan positioning (e.g., brand name product with logo to appeal to mothers)
7.4 - Plan key messages
7.5 - Select methods for behavior change and specify communication channels
7.6 - Specify communication materials needed (e.g., label with dosing instructions)

10.0 - Prepare to implement the behavior change strategy

10.1 - Develop brand name and logo
10.2 - Develop key messages
10.3 - Make detailed plans for implementing the methods for behavior change
10.4 - Plan training of staff to implement behavior change methods
10.5 - Develop communication materials and training materials
10.6 - Arrange use of channels selected
10.7 - Pretest messages and materials
10.8 - Produce and distribute materials
10.9 - Train persons who will implement the behavior change methods
10.10 - Plan additional behavior change interventions, if possible
10.11 - List the activities related to behavior change and desired outputs (quantities)

11.0 - Plan monitoring and evaluation of the project

11.1 - Identify the activities/indicators/outcome measures to be monitored
11.2 - Decide how the findings will be acted on
11.3 - Identify sources for monitoring data and data collection methods
11.4 - Schedule monitoring
11.5 - Design and pre-test simple forms and questionnaires for recording information
11.6 - Review the project objectives and relevant project activities in terms of expected effects
11.7 - Identify indicators/outcome measures to evaluate
11.8 - Determine sources of data for evaluation and data collection methods
11.9 - Plan for data gathering including schedule and staff

12.0 - Implement the project

12.1 - Produce and distribute vessels, disinfectant, and educational/promotional materials
12.2 - Launch the pilot project (special event)
12.3 - Supervise and support activities to implement the behavior change strategy and sell vessels and disinfectant through distribution systems as planned; monitor the activities
12.4 - Continue supplying bottles of disinfectant
12.5 - Evaluate the pilot project
12.6 - Implement the project on a larger scale

Handwashing for Diarrheal Disease Prevention 102 pages 2.5 mb
The Story of a Successful Public-Private Partnership in Central America

Camille Saad´┐Ż, Massee Bateman, Diane B. Bendahmane. Published by the Basic Support for Child Survival Project (BASICS II), the Environmental Health Project, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United States Agency for International Development, and The World Bank. Arlington, Virginia, September 2001.

The Central American Handwashing Initiative aimed to reduce morbidity and mortality among children under five through a coordinated communication campaign promoting proper handwashing with soap to prevent diarrheal disease. The Initiative was conceived and facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through two of its projects: Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival (or BASICS) and the Environmental Health Project (EHP).

Supercourse Learning and Models of Behavior Change
At the conclusion of this module the learner will be able to:

  • Examine behavior change theory and its role in changing health habits in individuals and populations

  • It is hoped that this presentation will stimulate discussion among audience participants. Health is a topic that provides common ground among people and most everyone has areas of challenge related to fitness. It can be helpful to share our approaches to fitness with one another.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs specializes in health-related BCC programs, primarily in developing countries. It includes programs in reproductive health and family planning, tuberculosis, malaria, clean water and sanitation, and HIV/AIDS.

PSP-One - Private sector partnerships for better health

Theory at a Glance: A Guide for Health Promotion Practice
Publication from the National Cancer Institute

Health and Behavior Information Transfer (HABIT)
A health behavior news service from the Center for the Advancement of Health providing news, funding information and resources related to health behavior issues. To SUBSCRIBE to HABIT, click here.

Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change
The Cancer Prevention Research Center at University of Rhode Island offers an explanation of the model as well as psychological measures of stages of change for various behaviors.

Behavior Change Resources
Information relevant to measuring and achieving behavior change in clinical or educational settings.
One of their programs is designed to help you manage large amounts of behavioral data effectively and efficiently. The program permits rapid and accurate data entry of different data types (frequency, interval, duration or trial) in a grid or a calendar like interface. Its sophisticated graphing and report component allows you to generate multiple baseline graphs, phase lines, and to analyze and summarize your data by periods and environmental events.

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (IJBNPA) is the official journal of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA). The ISBNPA is covering the cost of publication, enabling IJBNPA to be an Open Access journal without charge to the authors.

Theoretical Framework for Communications
Johns Hopkins University's Center for Communication Programs (JHUCCP) provides an introduction to useful theories for developing communications and social marketing programs.

The ABCs of Human Behavior for Disease Prevention
An article by the Academy for Educational Development

Steps to Behavior Change
A model from JHUCCP of the steps that lead to lasting behavior change.

American Academy of Health Behavior
AAHB has as its mission to advance the practice of health education and health promotion through health behavior research

American Journal of Health Behavior
The journal of the American Academy of Health Behavior

ILO-FHI HIV/AIDS Behaviour Change Communication Toolkit for the Workplace
This toolkit provides a step-by-step approach, emphasizing prevention through education, gender awareness and practical support for behaviour change.

Its intended users are government authorities, employers' and workers' and their organizations, businesses, ILO/AIDS National Project Coordinators, national BCC consultants and collaborating NGOs. It is designed for those with little or no experience in communications planning.

Behavioral Disorders: Focus on Change

Understanding How People Change Is First Step in Changing Unhealthy Behavior
Stages-of-change research has been used to develop dozens of behavior change programs, including HIV prevention, to help people live longer, healthier lives.

Attitudes Drive Behavior
First, influence occurs when a source deliberately tries to change a receiver. Second, persuasion occurs when a source deliberately uses communication to change a receiver's attitude. Third, an attitude is a person's evaluation of an object of thought.


Igniting Change! Capacity-Building Tools for Safe Motherhood Alliances Igniting Change! Capacity-Building Tools for Safe Motherhood Alliances
This report is a collection of tools to help focus and strengthen collective efforts, from the grassroots to the policymaking level, to improve maternal and neonatal health.

The tools foster communication and collaboration among all levels of safe motherhood stakeholders—policymakers, healthcare providers and facilities, communities, families and women—who come together to share their viewpoints and solutions for improved maternal and newborn health. The tools emphasize strengthening group processes, building capacity for the linkages between diverse stakeholders, and helping stakeholders work as a team to advocate for safe motherhood. (2004) Available in English.

Note: Print copies may be ordered for free in limited quantities. To view the publication online, please click on this link > More Information 102 pages 903 kb

Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide by Nedra Kline Weinreich
Have you ever read an article or emerged from a workshop, excited about using social marketing techniques in your own program, only to come back to the office and say, "Now what do I do?" And how often do people say, "We need to take a social marketing approach," without really understanding what that means and how to implement it? Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide will provide you with the practical skills you need to put social marketing to work for you.

Building Social Marketing Into Your Program by Nedra Kline Weinreich
First-time social marketers often feel overwhelmed by the rigorous market research processes they see in other large-scale programs. They may hesitate to incorporate social marketing activities into their own programs, unsure whether they have the resources and expertise to undertake such a project. The following ten tips are designed to help those new to the field to understand the basic principles of social marketing, with practical suggestions on how to implement these concepts in any type of program.

Behavior Change Theories and Models
Because theories and models of human behavior can guide the development and refinement of health promotion and education efforts, this page reviews elements of behavioral and social science theories and models.

Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life by Philip Kotler

Marketing Social Change: Changing Behavior to Promote Health, Social Development, and the Environment (Jossey Bass Nonprofit & Public Management Series) by Alan R. Andreasen

Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing (Education for Sustainability Series) by Doug McKenzie-Mohr

The Art of Cause Marketing: How to Use Advertising to Change Personal Behavior and Public Policy by Richard Earle

Social Marketing in the 21st Century by Alan R. Andreasen

Research findings relevant to EE Paradigm I: Systematic behavior-change campaigns

Related FHI publications:

Behavior Change: A Summary of Four Major Theories - 13 pages (121.82KB)

Behavior Change Communication (BCC) handbooks

BCC Network for HIV/AIDS: First Regional Meeting for East, Central and Southern Africa Renewed Emphasis on Behavior Change Communication for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care

A Guide to Developing Materials on HIV/AIDS and STIs  

Fact sheet, Behavior Change Communication for HIV/AIDS

Projects working in Social Marketing & Behavior Change

A2Z: The USAID Micronutrient and Child Blindness Project
AED: Ghana Sustainable Change Project
AED: Healthy and Ready to Work
Afghanistan REACH
Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival (BASICS)
Best Practices for Parenting Tobacco-Free Youth
Building Awareness of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury with Physicians and Coaches
CHANGE Project
Civic Engagement for Education Reform in Central America (CERCA)
Communication and Social Marketing Capacity Building to Increase Immunization Rates
Community Guide Recommendations: Obesity
Energy Sector Technical Advisory and Assistance Services IQC
Enhancing Behavioral Change Communication in Border and High Transit Sites of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland
Ethiopia Child Survival and Systems Strengthening Project (ESHE)
From Marketing to Counter-Marketing: Analysis of Strategies for Women
Healthy Weight Initiative
HIP - Hygiene Improvement Project
Honduras HIV/AID Program (COMCAVI-Comunicando Cambio para la Vida)
Improving Reproductive Health in Ukraine
Improving the Eating and Physical Activity Behaviors of Low-Income Older Adults
Long-Range Planning to Address Overweight and Obesity in the United States
Making Medical Injections Safer
Media-Smart Youth
MIT Dangerous Drinking Campaign
National Technical Assistance System for Immunization Coalitions
New Voices National Fellowship Program
Nicaragua Basic Education Program (BASE II)
People, Energy and Development IQC
Preventing Type II Diabetes (STOPP-T2D)
Promoting Exercise among Older People
PSN Community Engagement and Media Outreach Technical Assistance Program
Public Health Alert on Prevention Services for Men who Have Sex With Men
Secretariat for Tobacco-Use Cessation Blueprint
Social Sector Investment Policy Dialogue Program
Study of Tobacco Industry Documents from Marketing to Counter-Marketing: Analysis of Strategies for Women
The Social Acceptance Project - Family Planning
Tuberculosis (TB) Prevention Training Project
Tween Traffic Safety Initiative
USAID Development Education Project
USAID Technical Assistance and Support Contract (TASC 2) - Global Health
Young Leaders for Peace and Development


AED Center for Global Health Communication & Marketing
AED Center for Social Marketing and Behavior Change



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