ePhoto: April 2018

Marching to the beat of a different drummer gets noticed. Population Media Center doesn't only focus on how people are marching: we also focus on the beat.

Marching to the beat of a different drummer has long been used to describe someone out of step with what is perceived as “normal” in a particular setting. This is yet another idiom demonstrating the pervasive nature – and the importance – of social norms. Social norms are a core barrier or driver of behavior for all members of a community. That’s why PMC focuses on changing social norms as well as individual behavior. PMC’s large audience sizes allow communities to reach “tipping points” where enough people change their opinions and actions to create a new social norm – positive peer pressure.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after PMC finished broadcasting Pambazuko (“New Dawn”), listeners were 1.8 times more likley than non-listeners to say they thought most people in their community used family planning to delay or avoid pregnancy. In order to better understand Pambazuko’s influence on perception of this social norm, our researchers controlled for sex, age, number of children, marital status, education, residence, and religion. The beat of the drum matters.
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