Behavior change first

Over the weekend, I attended a seminar on Effective Communication Planning held at Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication.  The seminar was conducted by AIJC president and UNESCO consultant Ramon Tuazon.  He said that long time development projects have been doing awareness campaign for years, and yet the respondents still suffer the same problems.  He cited the example on family planning.

The awareness on contraceptives campaign has been disseminated through out the years, and yet the population of the Philippines keeps on increasing.  Most people think that the problem is the church, which apparently is not. Based on studies and monitoring and evaluation,  people are aware of contraceptives, as well as the financial problems and consequences of bearing several children, and yet they still don’t respond to the need of family planning. The studies have found  that these people are mainly afraid of the health consequences brought about by the use of contraceptives, especially pills.  Therefore, they have concluded that awareness campaign is not the problem, but the need on the behavioral change and mindset of people.  This was realized because  science was applied to discover the source of the problem.

Behavioral change is needed not only on ongoing projects, but also future clients who does not believe on the methods of science needed to be applied to make their business succeed.  If they look down on your methods, then it’s best to let them know that they have wasted your time already, and they will be wasting everybody’s time in the future if they don’t change their behavior first.

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