Social behaviour change

Sightsavers uses social behaviour change to understand why people make certain decisions, so we can encourage and support them to make healthy, inclusive choices.

School children sitting on the grass playing a board game. One is holding up a card that says: 'You wash your hands and face before dinnertime. Add one clean point!'

Social behaviour change (SBC) is an evidence-based approach that helps people practise behaviours that positively influence their life.

Promoting healthy, inclusive behaviour is vital to Sightsavers’ work. Some behaviours, such as hand washing with soap or using accessible eye health services, can make people less vulnerable to disease and blindness.

Other behaviours, such as those driven by stigma, stereotyping and discriminatory attitudes, may mean people with disabilities are denied their rights in society.

Our SBC work promotes behaviours that prevent disease, protect eye health and enable people with disabilities – particularly girls and women – to access health and education, go to work, make decisions and take part fully in society.

Sightsavers’ work is supported by dedicated staff specialising in SBC and accessible design, who help to develop bespoke tools using innovative design thinking.

A mural on a school wall showing five superhero characters.

Behaviour change in practice

Learn how soap and superheroes are protecting schoolchildren in Kenya from blinding trachoma.

Read the blog

How Sightsavers uses social behaviour change

We engage with people at risk of disease

Innovative SBC tools such as educational board games help people change their behaviour to reduce the spread of disease.

We ensure programmes are disability inclusive

In Nigeria, people with disabilities are leading the design of accessible SBC materials for Inclusive Futures’ family planning project.


We reduce stigma and discrimination

In Ghana, we used SBC to reduce stigma and discrimination faced by people with disabilities and mental health issues.

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Sightsavers' bright yellow accessibility pack box standing on a desk.

Social behaviour change and accessibility

We make sure our SBC work is as inclusive as possible, so it can be understood by everyone. We’ve shared key tips in our accessibility pack, which will help you create communications that are user-friendly and easy to understand.

Read the accessibility pack

Hear from our SBC experts

Joseph Mensah
Sightsavers blog

Social behaviour change: a game-changer to reduce stigma

Sightsavers’ Joseph Mensah shares four key learnings from a SBC programme in Ghana that aims to reduce stigma around disability, and how they'll inform our future SBC work.

Joseph Mensah, June 2023
Cathy Stephen
Sightsavers blog

Inclusive, accessible social behaviour change: what it is and how to do it

Sightsavers’ Cathy Stephen shares what we've learned from embedding inclusive, accessible social behaviour change processes in some of our recent projects in East and West Africa.

Cathy Stephen, June 2023
Six schoolchildren sit on the floor around a board game that they're playing.
Sightsavers stories

Captain Clean: teaching children about hygiene through games

Schools in Kenya, Ethiopia and Guinea are using educational board games to teach children about the importance of good hygiene to help eliminate trachoma.

A large group of people gather together for a photo outside a building. Some people are seated, some are standing and there is a man in a wheelchair at the front of the group.
Sightsavers blog

How inclusion ambassadors are reducing disability stigma and discrimination in Ghana

Sightsavers’ Joseph Mensah explains how the Ghana Somubi Dwumadie programme is helping to change negative social attitudes and behaviour.

Joseph Mensah, April 2022
A man sitting on a hospital bed is interviewed by a Sightsavers staff member.
Sightsavers blog

‘Prevention is better than cure’: How social behaviour change prevents glaucoma blindness

The Keep Sight initiative shares its findings on how social behaviour change could address the problem of people losing their sight because of glaucoma.

Selben Penzin, September 2021
two women sit together talking. One is sitting in a wheelchair.
Sightsavers blog

Social behaviour change: our learning journey

We've done plenty of learning and thinking recently about what social behaviour change means for Sightsavers. Take a look at what we've been working on.

Cathy Stephen, July 2021
A group of four people stand outside wearing protective masks and washing their hands.
Sightsavers blog

Setting out Sightsavers’ approach to behaviour change

In the context of COVID-19, Sightsavers’ new lead on behaviour change communication introduces her work and explains why behaviour change is so crucial to our mission.

Cathy Stephen, July 2020
A group of students in blue uniforms, wearing paper masks on their heads.
Sightsavers stories

How soap and superheroes are changing lives

Geordie Woods explains how the Super School of Five trachoma prevention programme is protecting school children from this devastating disease.