Advancing Research and Practice on Normative Change for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Well-being

Social norms—the often unspoken rules that govern behavior—shape the trajectories of young people. The impact of harmful social norms, such as expectations related to gender-based violence, early marriage and early parenthood, is receiving increasing attention. As programs are working to foster norms that support healthy behaviors, there is an opportunity to advance understanding of social norms: what they are, how to measure them, how they influence behavior and how to scale up normative interventions that show promise. To date, the emerging community of social norm change practitioners is fragmented, lacking theoretical clarity and validated measures, and has poorly documented the scale-up process of social norm interventions that have been taken to scale.

The Learning Collaborative envisions a world where the powerful influence of social norms in shaping adolescents’ lives is widely understood, and where projects and programs improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health by applying normative science at scale.

Made up of a network of experts committed to facilitating collaboration between organizations and individuals working on adolescent sexual and reproductive health norm change initiatives, the Learning Collaborative is working to enhance collective efforts, build knowledge and develop shared tools to promote and guide effective social norm theory, measurement and practice.

To do this, the Learning Collaborative is organized according to three focused Learning Communities:

1. Social Norm Measurement Learning Community

Members of the Measurement Learning Community are working together to strengthen the measurement of social and gender norms, and to develop and share practical guidance to advance measurement science.

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2. Social Norm Theory Learning Community

Members of the Theory Learning Community are working together to develop and share practical theoretical tools to advance clarity and congruence in the design, monitoring and evaluation of normative interventions. These tools will also facilitate learning by providing a common language and set of concepts to use when comparing and contrasting program experiences and results.

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3. Social Norm Scale-Up Learning Community

Members of the Scale-Up Learning Community are working together to strengthen the design, evaluation and costing of adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health normative change interventions going to scale.

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Steering Committee Members

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)

UK Department of International Development (DFID)

FHI 360 (co-convenor)

Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University (convenor)

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Overseas Development Institute/GAGE

Pathfinder International

UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)