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5 Takeaways from SBCC Summit: Ensuring Health Messages Are Heard

Technology will always be an important part of social and behavior change programming in the future

February 26, 2016

By Soma Ghoshal

At the first International Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, attendees filled a standing room-only venue to listen to five panelists speak about their experiences utilizing Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for SBCC programming. The speakers highlighted the importance of choosing the right technology, understanding the life cycle of technological devices as well as the basics of integrating and evaluating ICTs within SBCC projects.

Here are a few takeaways from the conference!

  1. Sometimes the most obvious technology solutions are not the most efficacious. (Rebecca Weissburg, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at VOTOMobile)
  2. The best way to ensure health messaging is truly heard, is by educating in an exciting way that appeals to audience interests. For example, serious gaming as a unique, effective way to teach young adults and adolescents about the dangers of risky sexual health behaviors. (Hilmi Quraishi, Co-Founder of ZMQ and Ashoka Fellow)
  3. Women have unique needs related to maternal and reproductive health. Access to useful, quality health information (such as through a help desk) can have the secondary and unpredictable impact of empowering women and helping them act more independently - something that can also lead to better health outcomes for themselves and their children. (Pippa Yeats, Service Design Lead at Praekelt Foundation on their program MOM Connect)
  4. In a country like Indonesia that has the largest population of married women of reproductive age in the world, there are many misconceptions about contraception devices, particularly implants and IUDs. Using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to talk about family planning can help reduce stigma associated with contraception. (Dinar Pandan Sari, Program Officer at Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs in Indonesia,)
  5. There is a strong need for organizations to conduct thorough needs assessments to understand what sorts of device will work best for their target populations and strategically invest in those tools that will reap the most benefits. Organizations can look to resources like the SDG ICT Playbook.  - a document that takes a look at the UN General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals and discusses which technological applications are most effective in each area. (Carol Bothwell, Director of Technology Innovation for Development at Catholic Relief Services)

Technology will always be an important part of social and behavior change programming in the future; however, making sure that we integrate technology thoughtfully and only after thorough research will be the difference between success and failure.

This post was republished from the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) as part of NetHope's effort to facilitate collaborative learning and community knowledge-sharing. Please click here to read the article in its original form. We are always looking for relevant and thought-provoking ICT-related posts to republish. We value your suggestions; if you'd like to recommend a post, please write us at

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