Social and Behavior Change Programming

**Terms of Reference for a Consultancy:

to assist Concern Worldwide strengthen its approach to Social and Behavior Change Programming**


In 2013, Concern Worldwide (CW) produced “An Overview of Approaches to Social and Behavior Change” that incorporated guidance on the: Five Steps to Design, Implement, Monitor and Evaluate SBC Programs as well as a compendium of SBC activities used within CW, and elsewhere, at that time. The five key steps covered (1) Preparation. identify and describe the problem (2) Understanding the Situation (3) Focus and outline the SBC strategy (4) Design activities and finalize SBC strategy and (5) Implement, Monitor, Evaluate, and Re-Plan. This appears to be in line with more recent guidance from other agencies addressing a variety of subjects (such as by GIZ on Food and Nutrition[1] and the World Bank on Increasing Women’s Economic Opportunity[2]). Subsequently, the Technical Advisory Team identified “11 key common principles for SBC interventions” to help teams with the design of programs.

However, a recent (2021) review of evaluations undertaken on our health programs found a number of challenges with our SBC work. These included a lack of realism in setting targets for some of the behavior change activities, unrealistically short windows to implement SBC activities, a lack of evidence to show how some programs had brought about social and behavior change, and in some instance an equating of increased knowledge with changes in behavior. In other sectors, such as Livelihoods, while the term Social and Behavior Change is not generally used, it is in effect what we are trying to achieve with the adoption of innovative farming techniques or new livelihood opportunities, and will potentially become even more important as we work with people on areas such as climate change adaptation. However, similar challenges exist here as well. A 2019 internal review of that sector highlighted how it was important to spend more time on the behavioral change elements of the work, and shifting away from interventions such as the singular distribution of free fertilizer to changing agricultural practices. We also build in SBC across a number of approaches, for instance our work on equality is having some success in pushing our programs to be more gender transformative, by taking an approach that works with both men and women to address gender roles particularly at the household level.

This array of experiences underlines the fact that SBC is a core component of most programs, and there has been some progress in how these have been designed. Notwithstanding, the technical advisory team continues to identify a variety of challenges in terms of designing social and behavior change activities, ranging from poor or non-existent formative research, to unrealistic timelines, poorly designed materials, weak monitoring systems and inadequate resourcing of the activities in terms of personnel and budgets. It can also happen that SBC interventions are planned to answer issues that go beyond the scope of what an SBC intervention can achieve and that are better addressed by other types of interventions (promoting the use of food items not available on the food market for instance) .

We now feel it is time to try to identify the barriers to us changing our own behaviors in relation to the design and implementation of projects intending to bring about social and behavioral change among participants. In this sense, we are seeking support from a consultant to help us identify how well we are doing in the area, where we need to change and how we should go about doing that.

What We Want to Find Out:

Key questions we would like the consultancy to answer are:

  • Is there a common understanding of what Social and Behavior Change means across CW? (This may not necessarily take the form of a common definition, rather there is a general understanding on what SBC interventions can cover and how they should be implemented to obtain the best results). It should also investigate whether there is an equating of the tools to be used, such as a barrier analysis, with the broader approach to SBC.
  • Are the current approaches currently being adopted in CW’s programs (as explored through a series of interviews and the development of a small number of case studies) likely to bring about sustainable social and behavior change? Does the approach vary across sectors and sub-sectors (specifically Health, WASH and Nutrition, Education and Livelihoods)? Across the different sectors, and based on the case studies, how well contextualized are the facilitation manuals and IEC materials used within the case studies identified.
  • It is our assumption that we have mapped out the key steps in the design of an SBC intervention in our guidance notes accurately. If this is not the case, the consultant(s) should make suggestions on where changes are necessary. If this is the case, the consultant(s) are requested to make suggestions about how to present these steps in an easier to follow manner.
  • Identify whether CW are genuinely applying the ‘socio-ecological model’ to address issues at individual, inter-personal, community and societal level across our SBC work. Assess whether we have the balance right between working at the individual level and seeking system wide change. Do our interventions also include activities to support people to put in place the behaviors promoted? Do they last enough to sustain the behavior change obtained? Are we implementing the right approach for the size of the targeted population?
  • Identify the key barriers to our teams following the correct process in designing, implementing and monitoring an SBC program. This could include a lack of knowledge, or perhaps too much information being provided; be related to the time frame of donor funding mechanisms (and a lack of realism); or the existence of strong technical support in social and behavior change.
  • Within our programs, how realistic are the time frames in which we expect to see social and behavioral change.
  • Focussing specifically on formative research, identify how frequently this is being done to develop an understanding of the knowledge / behavior gap and why people do or do not practice certain behaviors in a given context, and then used subsequently to develop / revise the SBC strategy.
  • At a program level, are we managing to prioritize among the multiple demands for behaviors to change? How much of this is driven by the findings of Concern’s initial studies (eg Contextual Analysis, SMART survey, market systems assessment), government or donors priorities or the interest of program staff? When we prioritize are we looking across all of our sectors for the key message to deliver (eg addressing equitable decision-making in a household – from our engaging men and boys work – may be the most appropriate way of increasing exclusive breast-feeding, rather than a series of trainings on the importance of EBF). Do we have experience of structuring our behavior change approaches so that a number of ‘small doable actions’ are being combined to bring about a more substantial social and behavior change. (The classic example is “improve quality of complementary foods” is not specific enough to stand as a behavior we want to change, but focus on each specific food within that). Are there any unexpected impacts (good and bad) from our SBC work, for example where we have pushed for unrealistic behavior changes that have the potential to cause damage, for instance by lecturing women to do certain things when they have no time/money.
  • We have developed strong theories of change around our SBC work and are using frequent and comprehensive monitoring data and feedback to adjust the project strategy and implementation in our SBC interventions. Also, are we using this data to measure and document behavior change?
  • Are we budgeting correctly for our SBC work, including making sure we have the right personnel in place (both in terms of quantity and quality, and investing in changing their perceptions on why people behave in a certain way), and that they are being given enough space to do their work and are provided with the right training and supportive supervision. This should also consider our (over-)reliance on unpaid community volunteers to do substantial pieces of work.


A series of (up to 10) Key Informant Interviews to map out the issues and use this to develop a brief inception report.

After approval of the inception report, develop a small number of case studies (8 to 10) based on documents provided and discussions with country teams, that

  • assesses the process used to define and diagnose the behaviors to be addressed;
  • whether SBC is enough or other interventions are needed;
  • the design of the SBC strategy (including the quality of SBC materials produced); and:
  • the implementation, assessment and adaptation process (including the indicators for progress).

Administer a short quantitative questionnaire to elicit opinions on the barriers to undertaking high quality SBC work that would allow to achieve CW’s country programs expected outcomes.

A further series of detailed interviews to probe further into the issues raised in the case studies and the quantitative survey.


A brief report, addressing each of the questions raised above that will allow CW to set the parameters for quality SBC work and agree on a ‘social and behavior change framework’. The report should pay particular attention to the minimum standards and guidance for problem analysis / formative research to determine which behaviors should be a priority. Annexed should be a series of case studies highlighting where best (and not so good) practice has been used, including identified good examples of the use of images.

A series of decision trees to help guide our teams through each stage of designing, implementing and monitoring an SBC approach

  • Deciding on what behavior to address (prioritisation)
  • Deciding on the right approach to follow (ie designing activities to address barriers and motivators)
  • Implementation and reflecting on / using monitoring data to inform adjustments in the approach or program

Guidance on the best use of images and messages within our SBC campaigns according to the timeframes and resources available and the type of contexts (eg: Concern’s ‘Be a Man’ posters alone would not be leading to significant changes in behavior, but may be appropriate in a short term crisis situation where the expected outcome is just awareness raising)

A checklist for our teams to be able to assess whether each of the key steps has been carried out adequately

Suggested indicators (from global good practice) to identify whether the social and behavior change has happened.

A plus. to propose a catalog of solid approaches that could be used for different contexts/scenarios.

What we look for:

A senior consultant in SBC with at least 10 years of experience.

  • Master’s degree in public health, social sciences or similar field
  • A minimum of 10 years experience in SBC projects;
  • Experience working with an international NGO;
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • Good oral and written communication skills in English

[1] GIZ (2019) Social and Behavior Change. Insights and Practice and GIZ (2021) Social and Behavior Change Lessons Learned from GIZ’s Food and Nutrition Security, Enhanced Resilience Program

[2] How to apply a behavioral lens to increase women’s economic opportunity (

How to apply:

Interested candidates should send their CV and a letter of expression of interest with a summary of the methodology proposed, their availability and their proposed daily rate in Euros no later than October 5, 2022 to the following emails.

[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]:

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