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Photo showing five people dancing outside, with smiles on their faces.
Photo Credit: Kendra Helmer/USAID

USAID Advancing Nutrition supports USAID Resilience and Food Security Activity (RFSA) partners to apply social and behavior change (SBC) approaches to help enhance the resilience of vulnerable populations around the world. SBC is the systematic application of iterative, theory-based, and research-driven processes and strategies for change at the individual, community, and society levels. SBC cuts across all sectors within RFSAs with behavioral outcomes at the core of RFSA theories of change.

Building upon USAID’s Refine and Implement Overview and FAQ and recent efforts to support partners during the refinement phase in multiple countries, several efforts are underway. In December 2022, USAID staff presented on 'less is more' at the SBCC Summit in Morocco, highlighting how prioritizing behaviors to improve nutrition works in practice, and on findings from an SBC review of USAID Development Food Security Activities.

Created with input from and reviews by RFSAs, new resources are available to guide SBC efforts during the Refinement period. They help establish Social and Behavior Change Parameters for Resilience and Food Security Activities during Refine and Implement. The Social and Behavior Change Design Handbook for Resilience Food Security Activities During the Refinement Period (forthcoming) details steps and resources, with examples, for each SBC milestone. The Technical Note on Formative Research to Inform SBC Programming Design offers tips and resources to design technically sound, actionable formative research to inform SBC program design in line with a theory of change (TOC).

Competency-based Approaches

USAID Advancing Nutrition has also developed tools and resources to strengthen SBC capacity of RFSA partners. An SBC Competency Assessment Tool guides teams to facilitate a participatory process to assess competencies and prepare plans to strengthen any gaps identified. Two RFSA partners tested this tool and shared their experiences in this webinar. BHA also contributed to the development of an SBC competency list for frontline workers. RFSA partners can use this list to prepare a competency assessment for community health workers.

Strengthening Nutrition SBC Evaluation

USAID Advancing Nutrition published two guides to strengthen SBC evaluation capacity. One guide is for evaluators while the other guides USAID staff through the critical aspects of designing evaluations. The guides come with a supporting toolkit to help USAID and RFSA partners determine the effectiveness of their social and behavior change strategies and approaches.

Currently, USAID is preparing a set of resources to help partners apply best practice in SBC in all sectors. USAID Advancing Nutrition and Program Support Cycle (PCS) will host a virtual consultation in early August with RFSA implementers to gather input and recommendations on the resources. In addition, USAID Advancing Nutrition is supporting USAID to prepare a technical note on formative research in the refinement period of RFSAs. These resources will be available before October 2023.


This USAID Advancing Nutrition case study on Yemen was featured in a special section of the Emergency Nutrition Network's Field Exchange.