Learning More About Behaviour Change

  • Date: 01/07/2019
  • Author: Aoife Clements

At ActionAid Ireland we are currently working in collaboration with our colleagues in Kenya, Nepal and Ethiopia to tackle women’s rights issues. This programme, funded by Irish Aid, is now in its third year. We are focusing on gender-based violence issues. And we have two key aims:

  • Making communities safer for women and girls.
  • Making women more economically secure.

To tackle these issues, we are implementing a behaviour change technique developed by the University College London (UCL) Centre for behaviour change.

Behaviour Change Workshop in Dublin

On the 10th -14th June our international teams gathered in Dublin for a week of learning and reflection. Together, we reflected on the lessons from implementing the programme in 2018. We discussed the challenges of adaptive programming. We learned how to better work with men. And we delved deeper into the behaviour change process.

Sharing Best Practice on Women’s Rights

Day one and two saw the team share the challenges and the best practices within the Women Rights Programme. And so, we highlighted how its design as an adaptive programme is enabling the teams in the field to design interventions based on their local context. As a result in some instances after monitoring progress, we re-target who to work with for better results. While the programme is not yet fully adaptive, cases of adjustments have been reported. For example, in Ethiopia and Nepal, working with girls to address child marriage, was not bearing as much fruits as expected. This forced the team to identify and work with the girls’ and boys’ parents also.

Learning From Others

On day three, the Men’s Development Network provided an in-depth way of working with men. As a result, we learned how to drive maximum benefit from working with men to get better results for women’s safety and economic empowerment. One way highlighted was looking at the good in the men, without constantly portraying the men as villains. As well as understanding the societal pressure on men. As is often said, knowledge is power. Therefore knowing/better understanding men, is a plus for our programme to better engage them. After all, we need all stakeholders/players on board to effectively address violence against women and girls.

Later in the week the teams from Ireland, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nepal took part in a workshop with Dr Paul Chadwick from UCL to discuss how the behaviour change method was being implemented in the programme countries. This was a valuable session allowing the teams to learn from each other. Our colleagues were able to discuss exactly what behaviours they were interested in targeting in the future. We looked at how best to intervene to change behaviours. And who in the community to work with. The team also briefly touched on how to document progress, with the need to refine the programme monitoring framework in order to provide a guide for tracking change and recording progress.

Of course, no learning week would be complete without a bit of team building! The ActionAid team battled it out to see which group could build the tallest structure from Marshmallow and Noodles!

Photo caption for heading image: The programme team from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal and Ireland photographed during the programme workshop in Dublin. Photo by ActionAid. 

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