Setting good communication objectives is important to keeping your SBCC efforts focused and on track. By linking your objectives to indicators, you can also track progress and demonstrate impact.
Good communication objectives should be:
Does the objective say who or what is the focus of the effort? Does this objective say what type of change is intended? Does the objective cover only one challenge?
Can your objective be measured in some way? Does the objective include a verifiable amount or proportion of change expected?
Is the objective sensitive to audience needs and preferences? Is the objective sensitive to societal norms and expectations?
Can you realistically achieve the objective with the time and resources available? Is the degree of expected change reasonable given these conditions?
Does the objective state the time period for achieving change?
Good communication objectives focus on addressing the core problem you identified in Step 2.
The communication objectives should answer the following three questions:
- What is the desired change in behavior, social norms or policies?
- How much change can be expected of the audience? How will this change affect the FBP, the community, the health system and society?
- What is the timeframe required for the change? By when do we want these changes?
You will answer these questions by completing the following activities:
Each of the primary and influencing audiences will require its own set of communication objectives. Refer to your audience profiles and situation analysis to answer the following questions:
- What type of behavioral change do you want each of your audiences to make?
- What type of impact do you want this to have? For example, a change in social norms, a change in policy or change in number of clients seen.
- Are the desired changes specific and appropriate?
Indicate the intended audience segment – whose behavior do you intend to change through the SBCC intervention (e.g., head nurses with 10+ years of experience, or urban doctors working in HIV clinics)? Record this in the table below under Audience Segment.
Then fill in the “Desired Change” column for each of your audience segments in the Final Communication Objectives table.
To make a reasonable estimate on how much change can be made, consider the overall context of the problem, experiences of similar programs in the past, and the resources and timeframe available.
Context of the problem
Remember the barriers you identified that affect FBPs and any secondary audience’s behavior. Your communication objectives will need to address these barriers. Referring back to your situation analysis and root cause analysis, consider the motivational barriers you identified.
- What are the barriers to change?
- What are the incentives not to change?
- Which of these barriers and/or incentives not to change will you address?
- Add this information to the “Barriers to Change” column in the Final Communication Objectives table
- Examine available research data and reports that describe prior communication programs related to the challenge to be addressed.
- What changes were achieved?
- Based on this information, what changes do you think are realistic and feasible?
Resources and timeframe available
- Consider the resources available and what is manageable within the strategy’s timeframe.
- Can the objectives be accomplished with the available resources?
- Are communication approaches sufficient to reach the intended audience?
- Can services meet increased demand?
Determine the amount of change expected
- State the existing baseline measure as well as the expected measure.
- What is the numerical or percentage change expected?
- Is the amount of change measurable and realistic?
- If there is no baseline data, use secondary data and grey literature such as technical reports from government agencies or research groups, working papers, white papers or preprints.
Add the amount of change expected under the “How much change?” column in the Final Communication Objectives table.
Identify the timeframe in which change will be achieved. This will ensure your objectives are time-bound.
- What is the timeframe for your objectives? They can be stated in either months or years.
- Does the timeframe provide adequate time for change to effectively take place?
- Is the timeframe realistic?
Add this information to the “Timeframe” column in the Final Communication Objectives table.
- At the end of 5 years, 80% of population in the clinic’s catchment area will feel they are treated with respect by the clinic staff.
- At the end of 3 years, 50% of facility-based providers in the targeted area express positive attitudes toward their jobs.
- At the end of 2 years, 33% of facility-based providers will indicate they feel appreciated by their clients and colleagues.
Record your final communication objectives in the Step 4 section of the SBCC Strategy template.
For additional information on setting good objectives for SBCC, see Designing an SBCC Strategy Implementation Kit.