Humans are generally considered rational beings; however their observed behaviors and the choices they make sometimes cast doubt on this premise. The private sector annually invests billions of dollars into campaigns and activities aimed at changing the attitudes and behaviors of rational people so that they will think and act differently. Too often these initiatives fail because the approach is based on the rationale that “if we tell them the right information they will do it” instead of identifying the underlying motivations and beliefs (personal, cultural, and social) that influence their behavior.
Effective social and behavior change communication (SBCC) is both theory-based (social science) and evidence-based (data, qualitative and quantitative research). To design an effective behavior change program we must know as much as we possibly can about our audience(s). Research gives us information about what they know (quantitative), and what they believe and what motivates them (qualitative) to behave the way they do.
For the social and behavior change component of the Early Grade Reading in Nepal Task Order, after conducting an Early Grade Reading Research Assessment (EGRRA) found in Annex A and a literature review on early grade reading communication programs, a qualitative research study was designed and conducted to fill in the gaps or missing data and to provide insights on what motivates and influences our audiences’ behaviors. From the qualitative research we gained insights on parents’ values and beliefs that motivate their actions and decision-making related to their children’s education, and how social and cultural norms affect their behaviors and practices.