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  • Writer's pictureErin Inclan

Sharing impact and innovation at the SBCC Summit in Morocco

Phoebe Balagumyetime (Ghana Health Service) with Toffic Dapilaah and Fidelis Da-Uri at the SBCC Summit.

Earlier this month, Amplio attended the SBCC Summit, held in Marrakech, Morocco, from December 5 to 9. The Summit is recognized as the most important conference for those working in the field of social and behavior change communications (SBCC). The Amplio team — along with some of our Talking Book partners from Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya — participated in panel discussions, poster presentations, and breakout sessions alongside about 1,800 international development practitioners.

What is Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC)?

SBCC is the strategic use of communication to inspire social and behavior change to improve lives around the world — from increasing the use of modern contraception to fostering gender equality, to addressing the climate crisis. SBCC plays a crucial role in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 international development goals designed to serve as "a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future."

Amplio executive director Cliff Schmidt (right) talks to Peter Lengewe, Managing Director, Centre for Behaviour Change and Communication at the SBCC Summit. CBCC implements Talking Book programs in Kenya.

Convening our U.S. and Ghana staff in Morocco

Originally scheduled for March 2020, the Summit was delayed by COVID-19. So, we were thrilled to finally bring some of our U.S. and Ghana staff together in Morocco to attend the 2022 Summit. Team Amplio included executive director Cliff Schmidt, Ghana country director Gumah Tiah, senior monitoring evaluation and learning (MEAL) officer Toffic Dapilaah, program manager Fidelis Da-uri, and communications director Erin Inclan.

We also invited two special guests: Phoebe Balagumyetime, a Ghana Health Service district director, and Denis Agaba, an SBC consultant from Uganda. As the Jirapa district health director, Phoebe works closely with Amplio and UNICEF Ghana on community health education initiatives in the Upper West Region. Denis is leading the SBC strategy for the project we're implementing in partnership with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to strengthen women's land rights in Uganda.

In addition to staffing Amplio's exhibit booths, networking, and attending Summit sessions, our team also delivered four well-received presentations.

Fidelis Da-uri, Amplio Ghana program manager, discusses his digital poster at the SBCC Summit.

1) Creative audio messaging formats for SBC impact

Fidelis presented a digital poster on "Songs, Dramas, Interviews, and Endorsements: Understanding Effective Audio Messaging Formats for Last-Mile Public Health Crisis Communication." His research focused on an analysis of the initial Talking Book message deployment for our COVID-19 awareness campaign in Ghana.

You can read his paper here.

Denis Agaba moderates a panel with Gumah Tiah, Phoebe Balagumyetime, and Toffic Dapilaah.

2) "SBC and Government" panel discussion

Denis moderated a discussion with Gumah, Phoebe, and Toffic for panel titled "SBC and Government: Community health education for the last mile." Our panelists discussed how Amplio and Ghana Health Service partner around using Talking Books to improve health education and build capacity for health workers in vulnerable districts.

The panel sparked a lively converation about SBCC digital tools, awareness campaigns, local languages, incentives, and behavior change in last-mile communities.

As Ajuluchukwu Edechiene, an SBCC expert from Nigeria, remarked:

"In Nigeria, when we talk about the last mile, we don't talk about cell phones or the internet. None of those things matter. What people are thinking about is how to get food, how to get water — the basic things of life. This week, I've been to SBCC sessions where they talked about collecting email addresses from the last mile, and I wanted to say, 'No guys, that's not the last mile.' Amplio's solution is about the last mile."

Executive director Cliff Schmidt shows an SBC Impact Designer promo video at the SBCC Summit.

3) SBC Impact Designer – an open-source software

Bright and early Thursday morning, Cliff presented new software that Amplio is developing. SBC Impact Designer is the world's first comprehensive, open-source SBC digital platform. Cliff gave an overview of the software features and invited attendees to rank the features by priority and join the project to co-design as SBC advisors.

Amplio is seeking partners to contribute to the SBC Impact Designer, including software developers and project funders. A beta version is slated to be released in early 2023.

Watch a video and learn more here.

Toffic Dapilaah's presentation on the last day of the conference stole the show.

4) Prioritizing the Provider

On the last day of the conference, Toffic presented in a session called "Prioritizing the Provider." His presentation, "Technology to Facility the Delivery of Health Promotion in Ghana's Community-based Health Planning and Services System," was based on a paper co-authored with Lisa Zook, Amplio monitoring, evaluation, and learning advisor.

Toffic's talk was informative and entertaining. He stole the show! At the end of the session with three other presenters, most questions during the Q&A were directed to Toffic, generating a lot of interest in the Talking Book as an innovative SBC tool.

(The moderator said it was the most engaging session he had attended all week.)

Charity Nikoi and Iddi Iddris (UNICEF Ghana) relax at the SBCC Summit.

New partners and old friends for SBCC collaboration

As you can imagine, the SBCC Summit was a buzzing hive of activity. Each day, the schedule was packed with sessions from dawn until dusk. In between sessions, people networked and feasted on a fantastic array of Moroccan sweets. For many, including the Amplio team, it was an opportunity to catch up with international colleagues. We also got to celebrate Morocco's historic World Cup match with Spain.

Since it's a small world, it turned out that friends from UNICEF Ghana were staying at the same hotel. Charity Nikoi and Iddi Iddris — communication for development officer and technology for development officer, respectively — have partnered on Talking Book programs for years. It was great to see them and support each other's sessions.

Equally important, our team also made dozens of new contacts for future collaboration on Talking Book programs, as well as the SBC Impact Designer software.

Stay tuned for news and updates in 2023!

Click through the slideshow below to see more scenes from the SBCC Summit.

Use the arrows to click through an SBCC Summit slideshow.


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