Long Read

Behavioural Change Communication

Being able to lead a healthy life is influenced by many factors and doesn’t solely depend on increased access to – and use of – WASH facilities, medicines or treatment. Improved insights in health behaviour can provide a tremendous impact in the onset and course of health problems and act as a basis for health promotion[1].

However, making a long-term change in behaviour is rarely a simple process. Individual, social and other external factors should be integrated to positively influence healthy behaviour.

The Simavi Approach

Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) is widely used and stimulated by Simavi to obtain and maintain healthy behaviour at individual, community and national level. Simavi considers BCC an essential element in WASH and SRHR programmes at individual, community and national levels.

Behaviour Change Communication_icon

Individual level
Knowledge, awareness, beliefs and feelings about health practices play an important role in determining health behaviour. Simavi addresses these concerns to facilitate changes in health behaviour and create a sustained demand for health resources.

Community level
By involving and cooperating with the community right from the start of the programme, Simavi stimulates an improvement of ownership and the sustainability of health programmes.

National level
 Lobby & advocacy strategies are an important aspect of behaviour change,  especially in terms of changing the enabling environment (availability of services and goods, policies, staff etc.)

Simavi’s building blocks

Simavi stimulates local partners to use a better analysis structure when using BCC. This can be done with our Stages of Change model. Special techniques and interventions are developed within each stage to stimulate progress to the next stage[2]. Messages are tailored to individual differences and different communication channels will be develoed to influence each individual.

Simavi uses the following tools and strategies as building blocks to improve health behaviour:

Knowledge Attitude and Practices (KAP) Study

A KAP study provides formative research and is built on what local individuals and communities know, do and need across different cultures, genders and ethnic groups. In this stage of formative research, risk practices are investigated through observations, interviews & focus group discussions.

Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

Communities are mobilised to conduct their own appraisal and analysis of open defecation and take action to become open defecation free. By raising awareness, providing skills and letting people perceive the benefits of healthy behaviour, CLTS triggers the community’s desire for collective change and propels it into action. This encourages the community to innovate, provide mutual support and think about appropriate local solutions, leading to greater ownership and sustainability.

Social marketing

Via social marketing Simavi aims to learn what people want and need, rather than persuade them to healthy behaviour. Our social marketing is developed around a 4P framework:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place.
  4. Promotion

For case studies and a more detailed explanation of how Simavi uses BCC to empower marginalized communities in Africa and Asia, please download our factsheet here.



[1] Cairncross S, Curtis V. (2003). Effect of washing hands on diarrhea risks in the community. Lancet Infectious Diseases, 3: 275-281

[2] Prochaska, JO.; DiClemente, CC. The transtheoretical approach. In: Norcross, JC; Goldfried, MR. (eds.) Handbook of psychotherapy integration. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2005. p. 147–171. ISBN 0-19-516579-9.



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