Malawi Social and Behavior Change Communications Pilot
With funding from USAID’s Office for Economic Growth, Education, and the Environment, the Education Data for Decision Making II (EdData II) project is investigating how to employ Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) strategies to promote and stimulate home-based support for children learning to read. Recognizing that the dramatic improvements needed in reading outcomes in most developing countries will likely only be achieved through a combination of in-school and at-home efforts in support of early literacy, USAID is testing how the lessons from successful SBCC campaigns in the health sector can be applied in education. Following an initial pilot SBCC campaign in one district in Senegal, EdData II initiated a second round of research—in another district in Senegal and in one district in Malawi.
The SBCC activity in Malawi is designed in a similar fashion to the one implemented in Kaolack, Senegal, making use of a multichannel approach to reach families in an area where an early grade literacy program is already being implemented. The multichannel approach involves delivering messages to parents through radio announcements, advertisements, and posters hung in prominent locations within each community. The campaign also includes reinforcement of those messages through community meetings and through community theater performances that reiterate the importance of reading, and demonstrate to parents specific activities they can do at home to support their children learning to read.