A Declaration about Social and Behavior Change Communications

July 17, 2018 • News

On July 3rd, the organizers of the 2018 International Social and Behavior Change Communication Summit (SBCC Summit) shared the declaration that emerged from the event. The five-day summit, held two months ago in Indonesia, included 1,200 professionals from 90 different countries and focused on entertainment-education. Population Media Center (PMC) was a sponsoring organization.

The SBCC Declaration represents the key takeaways from the Summit, broken into two primary sections: the pillars of the SBCC community and a call for the further inclusion of communication in development. You can read the document in its entirety, but some of the pillars included the beliefs that:

  • One-way messaging is not adequate because discussion and dialogue are central to social change;
  • Real and lasting change is achieved when people define and drive development for themselves;
  • Complexity and the importance of geographical, cultural, and social context must be appreciated and embraced;
  • Analysis of what works for continual learning and improving is a must;
  • Egaging with the media, traditional and new, must be used to shine a light on untold stories; and 
  • Communication is a powerful tool for good, but can also harm and misinformation, manipulation, or distortion must be opposed.

For the second part of the Declaration, the Summit organizers included suggestions for how governments, donors, civil society organizations, the private sector, and other stakeholders can embrace SBCC, such as:

  • Including SBCC as part of national development plans and efforts to achieve the SDFs
  • Advocating for public policies that support people’s rights to communication instead of concentrating those rights in the hands of few;
  • Recognizing that social change is complex and takes time; and
  • Funding SBCC across as well as within sectors to enable active participation of affected people in development. 

“Our message to decision- and change-makers everywhere is simple,” says the Declaration, “together, we can unleash the transformational power of Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) to address the challenges facing the global community today…Our commitment [is] to contribute to the realization of national development goals and the priorities defined by social movements and communities around the world, including the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”


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