Integrating Gender into Social and Behavior Change Communication

STEP 6: Select Strategic Approaches and Channels

The next step to integrating gender into your SBCC strategy or marketing plan is to plan how you are going to communicate to your priority audience to meet your program’s objectives. This “how” is the strategic approaches and channels that your SBCC program uses to meet its objectives.

When considering the strategic approach or mix of approaches, remember your primary audience and identify the types of communication channels that will maximize reach and effectiveness of the messages. A well-thought-out plan will consider the communication landscape, audience characteristics and access, and desired reach and intensity. It will also be designed to reach the program’s objectives, deliver effective messages and work within the program budget.

When assessing the current approaches in your SBCC strategy or marketing plan, consider the findings from your gender-based analysis and audience insights. For example:

  • Does your intended audience have access to the channel? If your program aims to reach women through mass media, determine if and when a woman has access to television and if she has the decision-making authority to choose the station or program. If your program is using school-based approaches to reach girls, are the most vulnerable girls in school?
  • How do women and men perceive the approaches you have selected? Would they be considered trusted sources of information for men? For women?
  • Do gender norms affect the implementation and effectiveness of your approach? If using community dialogue or group discussions, do you need to hold separate discussions for men and women to ensure women are able to participate?
  • How do gender roles and responsibilities in the family and community affect the timing of your approaches? If community health workers need to reach men, what times of day should they visit?

Using a thoughtful blend of multiple approaches increases an audience’s exposure to messages. It also increases repetition of the message, allowing different channels to reinforce meaning. Repeat exposure improves the likelihood that a message will be understood, accepted and acted upon. You can use a combination of approaches, which include:

When selecting strategic approaches, you can use a framework or model, such as the Pathways framework, to help guide the appropriate mix of channels across the different socio-ecological levels. Frameworks help to guide the design and implementation of a program by showing how the approach(es) and activities will contribute to objectives. Even if the communication messages and materials are wonderfully and cleverly designed, if they do not reach the intended audience, they will not be effective.

Activities

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Activity 6.1: Using Models and Frameworks to Select the Right Approaches

This activity will guide you on how to use the socio-ecological model and Pathways™ framework to identify, select and validate the best approaches to guide your program to achieve the set objectives.


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Activity 6.2: Identifying the Best Channels to Reach the Audience

This activity will guide you to identify the different channels and determine if they are realistic and relevant to your program. The activity will help you think though the time and resources needed, as well as the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your audience, including the different gender dynamics.

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