How do social norms affect behaviors? How can development programs benefit from a clearer understanding of them? David Jodrell of BBC Media Action offers insight on the influence of social norms and the potential role that media can play in promoting positive changes.
Interventions targeting social norms have long been part and parcel of the international development landscape. But following on the heels of the World Development Report 2015, how to measure – and capture the impact – of these interventions is the subject of rising attention.
There is particular interest in research around how social norms can contribute to behavioural change in the governance sector – in areas such as conflict resolution and women’s empowerment – as well as to help realise health objectives such as reducing open defecation or ending female genital mutilation. At BBC Media Action, where I work, we explore how media and communication intersect with social norms around some of these issues.