Social change communication to end FGM is an approach to communication that speaks to the motivations behind the practice of FGM, and identifies the very real personal and social barriers that hinder abandonment of FGM.
It provides positive alternatives, opens up debate and discussion in the public sphere, prompts individuals to question their acceptance of the practice, and increasingly builds confidence to speak out against FGM.
Social change communication speaks to transformation in the way that girls are valued, and in the beliefs and social norms that underpin FGM.
This is not about simplistic messages or lecturing people about what they should and shouldn’t be doing – this is dialogue that addresses the motivations behind the practice, and identifies the very real personal and social barriers that hinder abandonment of FGM.
What is social change communications?
John Hopkins University states that:
"Social and behavior change communication programs use the most powerful and fundamental human interaction – communication – to positively influence these social dimensions of health and well-being."
In this context, communication goes beyond the delivery of a simple message or slogan to encompass the full range of ways in which people individually and collectively convey meaning. Among the powerful tools employed by SBCC programs are mass media, community-level activities, interpersonal communication, information and communication technologies, and new media.
Research consistently shows evidence-based communication programs can increase knowledge, shift attitudes and cultural norms and produce changes in a wide variety of behaviors. It has proven effective in several health areas, such as increasing the use of family planning methods, preventing HIV and AIDS, reducing the spread of malaria and other infectious diseases, and improving newborn and maternal health."
The Girl Generation Social Change Communications strategy
- Uses locally-led and culturally relevant communications methods to spark discussion and dialogue, inspiring individuals and communities to question their own beliefs
- Supports and accelerates wider behaviour-change efforts, creating an enabling environment for community-based interventions and broader policy and legal reforms, and amplifying change where it is happening
- Addresses the social and psychological drivers and motivations behind FGM
- Encourages positive alternatives rather than simply condemning the practice and those who support it
- Increases the public space for dialogue on the issue, raising its importance on the public agenda, giving confidence to those affected to speak out
- Accelerates change at a local level by increasing global, regional and national solidarity and momentum for change