Evidence for Impact database

Background

One of the main, widely shared conclusions from the 2018 International Social and Behavior
Change Communication Summit in Indonesia 1 was that evidence exists from all corners of the
globe that communication activities have successfully created change to improve social
conditions and people’s lives. However, the evidence is strong in some areas, with gaps in
others. Of the evidence that does exist few people are aware of the range of evidence or how
to access it in order to help inform SBCC work.

The Evidence For Impact initiative of the Global Alliance was formed to address these gaps.
What is social and behavior change communication? For the purposes of this initiative, we
define communication broadly as any activity or process that seeks to share, convey or use
information; express thoughts, feelings or needs; connect with or interact with others; as well
to motivate, persuade, engage with groups and communities; coordinate action, manage
relations and advocate for change, among many other purposes. We define behavior change as
change that occurs at an individual level (e.g., change in knowledge, attitudes, practices,
choices, perceptions of self and the surrounding social world). We define social change as
change in the conditions that enable or constrain individual agency; these are sometimes
referred to as social or determinants. Social change occurs at a level higher than the individual,
in the characteristics of groups, structural features of a community, technologies and access to
them, resources and policies regulating human action. SBCC recognizes that communication can
effect change across the individual to societal spectrum.

The purpose of the EI cluster is:

  • To compile the best examples of evidence that communication works across a broad spectrum of program approaches, levels of change, and development goals;
  • To identify and catalog examples of strong evaluation and assessment approaches;
  • To provide support for advocacy for SBCC practices and funding; and
  • To create a user-friendly, searchable, online reference library of evidence for
    practitioners, researchers, policy-makers and advocates.

Global Evidence Review

(1) Criteria for Inclusion
To begin this process, a global review of available evidence from intervention studies was
begun. To be included in the review, studies had to meet certain criteria:

  • The following types of studies were considered:
    • Evaluations of SBCC programs
    • Operations research on SBCC strategies and approaches
    • Field trials of SBCC strategies and approaches
  • A full range of methodological approaches was considered:
    • Qualitative
    • Quantitative
    • Mixed
    • Cross-sectional
    • Longitudinal
  • Several types of publications were considered, not limited only to peer-reviewed items:
    •  Peer-reviewed articles
    • Technical reports from globally reputable organizations (e,g, WHO, World Bank
    • USAID, UN agencies, Cochrane, Campbell (https://campbellcollaboration.org/), major national and global organizations)
    • Meta-analyses
    • Systematic reviews
  • The geographic focus was comprehensive:
    • Studies from low, middle and high income countries
    • Comparative/multi-country studies
    • At this stage, we are only including studies in English, but with the intention to eventually expand to include at least Spanish, French and Arabic
  • The time frame included items dating from 2005
    • 2005 to present (in the year 2000, the UN MDGs were launched; in 2006 a World Congress was convened in Rome)
  • Topics considered are relevant to specific SDGs

(2) Minimum content requirements
In order to be able to quantify and characterize the evidence for impact, each item was
screened for and had to contain at least these eight types of information:

  • The intended outcomes of the program or approach are described
  • The start and end dates/duration of the period covered by the evaluation are stated
    (how long the intervention lasted)
  • The population intended to benefit from the program is identified
  • The engagement strategy or approach (e.g., mass communication, advocacy, social
    movements) that was intended to result in change is described
  • The activities or engagement mechanisms (e.g., community events, radio serial,
    advocacy) that were intended to result in change is described
  • The program content (i.e., what was communicated, exchanged, provided) is described
  • The methods used to determine impact are described
  • The results (qualitative, quantitative) are described and quantified (e.g.,
    outcomes/impact documented, magnitude of change, scale of change, number of
    people affected)
    • Qualitative data can be admissible evidence about an intervention, but the study
      must describe a quantitative outcome in order to allow a judgment to be made
      about the magnitude of the impact achieved.