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On the CUSP: The Politics and Prospects of Scaling Social Norms Change Programming

This paper highlights learnings from the Community for Understanding Scale Up (CUSP), which is a working group of nine organisations who are developing and scaling social norms change methodologies to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG) and to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). It especially draws learnings from five CUSP members – GREAT, IMAGE, SASA!, Stepping Stones, and Tostan – that were implemented across regions and contexts.

It highlights questions concerning the current donor landscape in the field, including the aspects of leadership and making methodologies for scaling social norms change. It also sheds light into the current evaluation paradigm to measure social norms change, that are important for the advancement of this field.

In this paper, CUSP makes the following recommendations for donors and implementers to scale social norms initiatives effectively and ethically: invest in longer-term programming, ensure fidelity to values of the original programmes, fund women’s rights organisations, prioritise accountability to their communities and demands, critically examine the government and marketplace’s role in scale, and rethink evaluation approaches to produce evidence that guides scale-up processes and fully represents the voices of activists and communities from the Global South.

Date published
  • 2019
  • Leah Goldmann
  • Rebecka Lundgren
  • Alice Welbourn
  • Diane Gillespie
  • Ellen Bajenja
  • Lufuno Muvhango
  • Lori Michau
Published by Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters