A mother feeds her young child from a plastic container.
A Cambodian mother feeds her child. (Mitchell Craft for Feed the Future)

Social norms—the unstated rules that govern behavior in society and determine what is acceptable or taboo—are one of many influences on child feeding behaviors. Norms often specify what young children should eat, as well as how, when, and by whom young children should be fed. There is growing interest in how social norms affect nutrition and health outcomes, yet few practitioners routinely measure the influence of social norms on complementary feeding behaviors or design programs to amplify supportive norms or shift harmful ones. This is a missed opportunity to address communal influences on behavior, and the social aspect of social and behavior change interventions.

Join us for this webinar to hear examples of social norms relevant to complementary feeding practices, intervention approaches used to address norms, and the impacts of these interventions on social norms and child feeding outcomes. Presenters will also share first-hand experiences with interventions and research featuring a norms-responsive approach in Malawi and Cambodia.


Laura Itzkowitz (moderator), MPH, has worked in social and behavior change (SBC), community health, and nutrition across three continents. Prior to joining USAID, she supported Alive & Thrive's SBC and policy advocacy work in Vietnam and the Southeast Asia region. Her previous positions include Pacific Regional Health Technical Advisor in Fiji with Australian Red Cross and Maternal and Child Health Technical Advisor in Lao PDR with Handicap International. She holds a Master of Public Health with a Nutrition Concentration from Tufts University in Boston and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Katherine Dickin, PhD, is an Associate Research Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and Director of the Program in International Nutrition at Cornell University. She conducts formative and implementation research on maternal and child nutrition, food security, and the effectiveness of social and behavioral change interventions. She is also the Cornell University representative and an SBC team member on USAID Advancing Nutrition. Dr. Dickin is the lead author on the forthcoming review on social norms and complementary feeding for USAID Advancing Nutrition.

Kate Litvin, MSPH, is a technical specialist with USAID Advancing Nutrition, the Agency’s multi-sectoral nutrition project. Ms. Litvin leads a broad range of activities in maternal and child nutrition and social and behavior change. She previously worked on the USAID-funded Advancing Partners & Communities project and SPRING project. Ms. Litvin is a co-author on the forthcoming review on social norms and complementary feeding for USAID Advancing Nutrition.

Fiona Coleman is a PhD student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University in the Program in International Nutrition. Her research focuses on nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions, women’s empowerment, and maternal and child nutrition. Ms. Coleman is a co-author on the forthcoming review on social norms and complementary feeding for USAID Advancing Nutrition.

Juliet McCann is a recent graduate from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Global and Public Health Sciences. Ms. McCann has worked with Dr. Dickin on qualitative data analysis for multi-sectoral nutrition interventions and on reviews of social and behavioral interventions in low- and middle-income countries. She is starting a Master of Science program in Global Health and Population at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health this fall. Ms. McCann is a co-author on the forthcoming review on social norms and complementary feeding for USAID Advancing Nutrition.

Anjalee Kohli, MPH, PhD, has over 15 years of international health and development experience focused on bridging research and practice to prevent gender based violence and violence against children and promote reproductive health. She is committed to social and gender equity, building collaborative partnerships and using participatory processes to better understand, design and adapt programming. She is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Child and Human Development at Georgetown University.

Kondwani Chidziwisano, Msc, is a behavior change specialist with over ten years of experience working in WASH program implementation and research in low-income countries. He is currently a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde (UK) and is working with the University of Malawi. His recent work includes designing and implementing a research intervention on WASH and food hygiene conducted in Chikwawa, Malawi.

Yoeum Phorn, MEd, served as the Technical Director of the multi-sectoral nutrition USAID NOURISH project in Cambodia where he oversaw multi-sectoral nutrition social and behavior change programming for nutrition, including complementary feeding. He is now working with the World Bank on the SBCC and Community Program team for the Cambodia Nutrition Project.