Research Topic

Participatory Community Approaches for Social and Behavior Change

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Interventions to promote social and behavior change are often most effective when they are carried out at the community level and ensure voice and influence of the most vulnerable. Collaborative and democratic strategies for generating knowledge and designing action centers on doing “with” rather than doing ...

Interventions to promote social and behavior change are often most effective when they are carried out at the community level and ensure voice and influence of the most vulnerable. Collaborative and democratic strategies for generating knowledge and designing action centers on doing “with” rather than doing “for” stakeholders and credits local stakeholders with the richness of experiences and substantial and meaningful contributions while respecting individual and community constraints.

With this Research Topic we welcome submissions describing the development, implementation, and/or evaluation of community engaged participatory approaches that have resulted in or have the potential to improve equity, sustainability and social and behavior change in public health domestically and globally through participatory methodologies (e.g. participatory action research).

Successful submissions will contribute unique value to the field of behavior and social change by introducing readers to the basic elements of participatory community-based approaches in a variety of areas including maternal, newborn, and child health, nutrition, education, agriculture and food security, non-communicable diseases, and other areas. Submissions should aim to promote learning and dialogue between practitioners, academics and government representatives with experiences in participatory approaches that foster sustainable social and behavior change. Papers should emphasize the potential replicability and adaptability of specific approaches to specific social and contextual settings.

We define key elements of our topic area as follows:

Social and Behavior Change (SBC): a systematic application of interactive, theory-based, and research-driven processes and strategies to effect change at individual, community, and social levels. SBC examines challenges from multiple sides by analyzing personal, societal, and environmental factors in order to find an effective way to achieve sustainable change. SBC also employs strategies that influence the physical, socio-economic, and cultural environment working at the multiple, and interrelated, levels within the socio-ecological model to facilitate healthy norms and choices and remove barriers to them.

Community-based participatory research (CBPR): is a partnership approach to research that equitably involves, e.g., community members, organizational representatives, and researchers in all aspects of the research process and wherein all partners contribute expertise and share decision making and ownership. The aim of CBPR is to increase knowledge and understanding of a given phenomenon and integrate the knowledge gained with interventions and policy and social change to improve the health and quality of life of community members

Community empowerment: is active participation or engagement of communities. It implies community ownership and action that explicitly aims at social and political change. It recognizes that if some people are going to be empowered, then others will be sharing their existing power and giving some of it up.

Community mobilization: is a sub-strategy of social mobilization. Social mobilization includes building coalitions on certain issues and usually takes place at a national level among civil society organizations, donors, and government. Community mobilization can do the same at a community level with similar techniques. Coalitions can be formed among community leaders, spiritual and traditional leaders, women’s groups, and other groups in the community.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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