Rain Barrel’s co-director, Robert Cohen, participated in the excellent 2018 SBCC Summit in Bali. He was honored to have been asked by the steering committee to help draft the Final Declaration, including post-conference feedback and suggestions from participants. You can read it here.
Robert came away from the summit with three main impressions:
1) an important shift is taking place in the field of SBCC – away from individual behavior change toward social change approaches, including social norms and Human-Centered Design. Away from a sole focus on health – as essential as it is – toward a broader range of development and humanitarian areas. At the heart of this shift is community leadership and dialogue, not just messaging;
2) as practitioners, we no longer have to justify our existence and endlessly explain what we do. We have a solid body of evidence that SBCC works. SBCC is coming into its own, especially given the emergence of behavioral sciences/economics and awareness of the (good and bad) potential of new technologies, Internet and social media; and
3) a strong emphasis on ethics and equity. When does what we do become manipulation? Who sets the agenda? Are we listening to the right voices and measuring the right results? Are we investing in long term change, not just short-term fixes?
These are essential issues and challenges to face as we move forward, using our SBCC science and art to build a better world.
We join the summit organizers in urging our readers to use the Final Declaration as an advocacy tool. Governments, foundations, international agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders need to do more to harness the power of SBCC through longer-term, core investments across all of the Sustainable Development Goals.