Role of Mass Media in Social Norm Change: Lessons Learnt from the Change Starts at Home Intervention

This blog post in "What Works" looks at the positive role of mass media to change social norms, but also asks thoughtful questions about design, lessons learned, and impact.

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by Gemma Ferguson, Senior Technical Manager, originally published October 23, 2019

As someone who has worked in the field of Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) for almost 15 years, I am an ardent believer in the power of media for transformative change. Across the many projects that I have worked over the years, I have seen media programming inspire collective action and youth activism, elevate voices, bring the marginalized into the center of discussions and create grassroots movements of change. More recently, as social norms have become increasingly recognized as key to long term and sustainable change, media has again been highlighted as a key tool in influencing social norms. But is it enough just to have a mass media component of a social norms change program? What is it specifically about media that can influence social norms change and how can we design meaningful programming that can be truly transformative?