Malawi Social and Behavior Change Communications Pilot: Endline Report

With funding from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Office for Economic Growth, Education, and the Environment (E3), the Education Data for Decision Making (EdData II) project has investigated how to employ social and behavior change communication (SBCC) strategies to promote and stimulate home-based support for children learning to read. Recognizing that the dramatic improvements needed in reading outcomes in most developing countries will likely be achieved only through a combination of in-school and athome efforts in support of early literacy, USAID wanted to test how the lessons from successful SBCC campaigns in the health sector could be applied in education. Following an initial pilot SBCC campaign in one district in Senegal (see RTI International, 2015), EdData II initiated a second round of research—in a second district in Senegal (RTI International, 2016), and in one district in Malawi (DeStefano & Cummings, 2015). The USAID-funded Early Grade Reading Activity (June 2013–October 2016) was active in 11 districts in Malawi, one of which, Ntcheu, was selected for implementation of this pilot SBCC campaign. Because the multichannel approach was successful in Senegal at promoting positive changes in households’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, the pilot in Malawi was set up to validate/replicate those findings in a different context. In collaboration with the Malawi Early Grade Reading Activity, EdData II implemented the SBCC campaign in the communities associated with 16 schools in the zone of Kasinje. Another group of communities in a different zone (Senzani) in Ntcheu District served as a comparison (no SBCC activities took place there).