The last year has seen dramatic changes in behavior across the world due to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. Today, almost everyone is hyper-focused on their own behavior and the behavior of others.
We started developing Inspire long before the pandemic, without grave stakes in mind. But we’re excited to launch it today knowing that generating ideas and seeking a better understanding of what it takes to change behaviors and norms is more important than ever. Especially now, there is increased focus on new and interesting ideas to drive social and behavior change but many have been underutilized to address nutrition challenges.
Inspire seeks to bridge that gap. Since its inception more than a decade ago, Alive & Thrive has aimed to motivate changes in maternal, infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN) social norms and behaviors. We have had success. Using a multi-stakeholder, multicomponent social and behavior change framework, we increased breastfeeding rates and saw improvements in dietary diversity and other complementary feeding practices in several countries.
But some MIYCN behaviors are proving more difficult to change and a few of the changes we saw immediately after the intervention were not fully sustained over time once outside funding ended. Household diets and eating practices continue to change, presenting new nutrition challenges. Most low- and middle-income countries now face the triple burden of malnutrition—stunting, obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies.
The idea for Inspire grew out of our desire to look for, discuss, and tackle SBC for nutrition in different ways. We hope that it will do just that—share how novel approaches might be used to address the persistent and new MIYCN behavioral challenges. Our first series focuses on complementary feeding. We’ve asked experts from outside and within the nutrition community to discuss and share their behavior change approaches and tools and how they might apply them to promote the adoption of improved complementary feeding practices. Through these posts we’ll explore:
- How to apply tips from design-thinking
- Opportunities for leveraging the power of habits
- Why social norms may be the key to achieving and sustaining change
- What Oprah’s interviewing and empathy skills have to do with social and behavior change
- How immersions into communities and other participatory research approaches create insights necessary to develop effective policies and interventions
We hope that you will be inspired! Join us as we explore new SBC ideas and complementary feeding practices. Click here to follow Inspire. What issues would you like us to cover? Leave a response below.