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Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Research in Senegal: Final Report

1. Introduction
Parent involvement and home environment have long been seen as determining factors
of children’s performance in school (see, for example, Cao et al., 2014). Of concern to
developing-country governments and their financial and technical partners is how to
stimulate parental support at home for children’s development of specific skills—in
particular, those associated with the acquisition of literacy in the early years of primary
school. A growing body of research is showing that programs aimed specifically at
improving early grade reading are achieving impressive results. Also, programs such as
Literacy Boost, which complement in-school instructional improvements with efforts to
improve the home literacy environment, are demonstrating significant impacts (Moore,
Gove, & Tietjen, in review). Research that could separate out the relative contribution to
reading performance of at-home versus in-school interventions has yet to be completed;
however, enough evidence exists to justify continuing to pursue ways to encourage athome
support for children learning to read.
A few years ago, USAID posited that the well-researched communication techniques
often employed in the health sector could be used to promote greater household support
for children learning to read. A pilot study in two regions in Senegal was therefore
designed to test whether a social and behavior change communication (SBCC)
campaign could bring about changes in household members’ beliefs and attitudes
toward the roles they can play to support their children learning to read. The study also
tested whether such a campaign could induce family members to engage in behaviors to
support their children’s reading, including specific activities designed to help students
practice early literacy skills.
The SBCC campaigns comprised a package of radio spots, radio programs, posters,
and community meetings that ran for three months in Kaolack, then for three months in
Rufisque. In both regions, basic messages about reading that were designed to strike an
emotional chord with family members were widely disseminated. During the same
period, parents were encouraged to attend community meetings, where they were
coached in a specific set of literacy-related activities they could regularly do at home.
This report presents results that compare how household members’ beliefs, attitudes,
and behaviors related to reading changed from before to after the SBCC campaign. It
also compares how the degree of exposure to campaign messages and events was
associated with different attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. Following the campaigns,
significant positive changes in beliefs and attitudes toward helping their children learn to
read were seen in both locations when compared to baseline, and those individuals who
reported the highest exposure to the campaign messages and events showed the most
positive change. A follow-up measurement six months after the campaign ended in
Kaolack showed some drop-off in measures of campaign recall and of attitudes and
behaviors when compared to the results seen right after completion of the campaign.
Even so, there was evidence of maintenance of some changed attitudes and behaviors
above the levels reported at baseline. This would indicate some durability to the effects
of the campaign, but also some erosion, with the expectation that the latter would
increase with passing time in the absence of subsequent interventions.
2 SBCC Research in Senegal: Final Report
In general, the impact of the campaign in Rufisque was lower than that in Kaolack, which
may in part be explained by the differences in the communities included in the pilot
activity in those two regions. Although Kaolack has some areas that can be considered
urban, much of it is rural, and households there are in general larger, poorer, less
educated, and less exposed to multiple media sources, as compared to Rufisque, which
is part of the expanding peri-urban area surrounding Dakar. Rufisque respondents
reported more media exposure, and households there reported having more sources of
information and higher levels of education than in Kaolack. Household members in
Rufisque had lower levels of unprompted recall of campaign messaging and lower
attendance at community events, which likely accounts in part for the lesser change in
attitudes and behaviors in Rufisque than was seen in Kaolack. This study’s results imply
that it is more challenging to use SBCC techniques in a more “cluttered” message
environment (such as in Rufisque), where the campaign had to compete with other
media, other messages, and other demands on people’s attention and time. It may also
imply that messages that would appeal to a more educated, and possibly more mediasavvy,
target audience may require more careful crafting.
The following report provides background information on the activities in the two regions
of Senegal, shares some of the SBCC concepts and strategies that guided the
development of the campaigns, provides more detail on the research design and the
elements of the SBCC campaign, recalls the results from the initial Kaolack pilot
(endline 1, conducted in January 2016), and shares the results from the Rufisque pilot
(endline 2, conducted in June 2016), including revisiting the Kaolack results six months
after the end of the campaign.
Author(s): 
Karen Schmidt, RTI International
Joseph DeStefano, RTI International
Stirling Cummings, RTI International
Date Published: 
Saturday, October 1, 2016
1.54 MB