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A growing body of evidence demonstrates that, to achieve sustained and meaningful improvements in adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH), programs must invest in addressing the expectations and unwritten rules surrounding acceptable behavior for youth and adolescents as they transition from childhood, through puberty and adolescence, into adulthood. In other words, programmers must understand social norms, both protective and harmful, and collaborate with communities to shift norms to promote positive AYSRH outcomes. Thus interest is growing in interventions that effectively and sensitively address the social norms surrounding AYSRH. Even as program designers and managers recognize the crucial role that norms play in social and behavior change, they also express the need for further guidance to translate social norms concepts and theory into effective interventions.

The present document, Social Norms and AYSRH: Building a Bridge from Theory to Program Design,is written for program managers and designers and acts as a bridge between recent advances in social norms theory and evidence and effective program design. This is one of several guidance documents that the Learning Collaborative to Advance Normative Change has created to begin to fill that need.