iMedia is advising the Family Planning team within the Global Development Division of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Digital Media for Social and Behaviour Change Communications (SBCC). Most recently we hosted a session at the 2021 European Evaluation Society online conference, which brought together evaluators and practitioners from several of the Foundation’s investments (RAES’ C’est La Vie, DKT International’s Honey&Banana, Shujaaz Inc. and Girl Effect India) to discuss Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of their programmes during COVID-19.
We found that the pandemic has accelerated adaptations to remote and online ways of working, both for program interventions and the measurement of outputs and effects, and has generated both opportunities and challenges for the sector (see session summary here). We are now developing a follow up briefing paper, which will present methods and issues in M&E of Digital SBCC.
In earlier work for the Foundation, iMedia associate Linda Raftree produced a landscape paper on Digital and Social Media for SBCC, informed by research into current approaches to using mobile and other digital communications to support SBCC, and drawing insights from gender and youth-focused entertainment-education programmes in the USA, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. We presented these findings at the MERLTech DC conference in 2019, along with presentations from Yvonne MacPherson and Khwezi Magwaza. This work was sparked by technical support we provided to the Foundation’s partners in India on designing the digital component of MTV Nishedh, a multi-platform campaign modelled on MTV’s hit TV show in Africa, Shuga. Employing a similar approach and style, it is intended to give adolescents access to information and encourage them to communicate about taboo topics like the benefits of different contraceptive methods, consent in the context of sexual intimacy, and awareness raising about tuberculosis (TB). Digital platforms are used to deepen audience engagement and tailor information to their specific needs, as well as creating space for online discussion.