For decades, social and behavior change (SBC) has been used in family planning (FP) programs to positively influence behaviors around healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy (HTSP), use of modern contraception, contraceptive method selection and gender dynamics in FP decision-making with impressive results. However, these SBC successes sometimes get obscured in the vast landscape of health and family planning literature.

HC3 conducted a systematic literature search across nine databases, including peer-reviewed and grey literature. From nearly 14,000 results spanning approximately 20 years (1995-2016), myriad low- and middle-income countries and multiple FP indicators, HC3 narrowed its focus to screen exclusively for peer-reviewed, quantitative studies that evaluate SBC interventions resulting in a significant increase in FP method uptake.

The result is the SBC/FP Evidence Database – a unique resource that compiles and highlights key SBC successes. This database presents a collection of 249 articles describing interventions or studies that address family planning challenges through SBC approaches. Some studies address the same intervention across multiple articles, while other studies evaluate multiple interventions in the same article.

Articles can be sorted by selecting a category from the following boxes: family planning (FP) method, audience, study design, country, and SBC activity. Acronym and SBC activity definitions are provided through links below this content and above the database.

SBC Activity Definitions

SBC Activity Definition
Counseling Interpersonal exchange between a trained healthcare worker or provider with a client, group of clients, or couple. May take pace in a healthcare, community or domestic setting.
Outreach (peer/lay workers) Usually refers to non-clinic-based healthcare workers (e.g., not doctors or nurses themselves), including community health workers, trained volunteers, peers or other groups.
Health worker training Education or information sessions/exercises specifically for clinic- or community-based healthcare workers to improve their knowledge, skills and capacity to delivery quality services to their clients.
Couple/family communication When family members are engaged/asked to communicate about family planning or related health topics without a health worker being present. This includes communication between wives, husbands, parents/in-laws, etc.
Advocacy Includes actions taken at the local or national level to improve laws and norms impacting a community’s family planning environment (e.g., community mobilization, lobbying for policy change, etc.)
Community engagement Includes activities reaching people within common geography, interests or characteristics as well as engaging with community groups. This includes activities that gather large groups and mobilize the community to participate (e.g., concerts, contests).
Sex education Refers to delivering information on sexual and reproductive health, including family planning,  in a structured manner, usually as part of an in-school curriculum.
Point of sale Captures communication between pharmacists or other family planning method dispensaries and the client.
Mass media Includes television, radio, newspaper, magazine, outdoor/transit ads (e.g., billboards, bus ads), and in this database, video, pieces that reach a wide audience.
Performance channels Includes conveying family planning or related messages through often live, entertaining media such as street theater/dramas, puppet shows, and music and dance performances.

New media

Use of mobile and smart phones for health information and services, including SMS technology. This also includes Internet-based applications encouraging social interaction among people where organizations or individuals create, share and exchange information and ideas among their networks. Platforms include Facebook, YouTube, etc.
Print materials Primarily paper-based materials that reach intended audiences through written words or illustrations. Examples include flyers, pamphlets/brochures, fact sheets, posters, cards and job aides.


Acronym Meaning
AOR Adjusted odds ratio
CI Confidence interval
DPMA Depomedroxyprogesterone acetate (injectable contraceptive)
FP Family planning
HIV Human immunodeficiency virus
IEC Information, education and communication
IUD Intra-uterine device
LAM Lactational amenorrhea method
OR Odds ratio
RCT Randomized control trial
RR Relative risk
SBC Social and behavior change
STI Sexually transmitted infections



Central Africa

  • Cameroon
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

Eastern Africa

  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Rwanda
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Northern Africa

  • Egypt
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia

Southern Africa

  • Botswana
  • Namibia
  • South Africa

Western Africa

  • Burkina Faso
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo


Eastern Asia

  • China

South-eastern Asia

  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Thailand

Southern Asia

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Iran
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka

Western Asia

  • Armenia
  • Jordan
  • Turkey

Latin America and the Caribbean


  • Dominican Republic
  • St. Lucia

Central America

  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Mexico

South America

  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru

Source: UNSD

Nearly all intervention and results summaries include articles’ verbatim phrasing, but this text has been edited for uniformity between entries; not all text presented here is original to HC3.