Food for the Hungry Logo Barrier Analysis: A Tool for Improving Behavior Change Communication in Child Survival and Community Development Programs
Background Information
What is Barrier Analysis
How to Conduct Barrier Analysis
Defining the goal, behavior & target group
Developing the behavior question
Developing questions about determinants
Organizing the analysis sessions
Collecting field data
Organizing and analyzing results
Using the results

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  Defining the Goal, Behavior & Target Group

The first step in conducting Barrier Analysis is to define the goal of your communication effort, the specific behavior(s) you want to change, and the target groups. Since we want to draw comparisons between Doers and Non-Doers, for any problem that you will be addressing through your community health or development program, you will have to first define exactly what you hope to achieve and the behaviors that are useful for achieving your goal. Then you need to clarify what constitutes “doing” and “not doing” the behavior.

The goal is usually general. For example, your goal may be to improve child nutrition. What other goals do you have in your programs?

Once you have selected the goal, you need to decide on the behavior that will be the focus of your analysis. When Barrier Analysis is used in an ongoing program, we often focus on a behavior that has not changed very much despite repeated efforts. For example, let’s say that you had focused on exclusive breastfeeding in a project area where the HIV rate was high, but only 15% of mothers of children under six months of age exclusively breastfeed their infants, even after four years of hard work to change it. (You would know this, for example, by doing a knowledge, practice, and coverage [KPC] survey.) We also may focus on behaviors that have been identified by the community as particularly important.

Your target behavior (in that example) is exclusive breastfeeding of children under six months of age. Your target group becomes mothers of children under six months of age.

We will talk about analyzing one behavior, but in reality once your people are trained in the methodology, you will often have one small group of staff members analyzing one behavior, and others analyzing another at the same time so that several behaviors can be analyzed simultaneously.

Identifying specific behaviors
It’s important that you know how to first identify then develop specific behaviors that you will promote in a project area. For each behavior listed, select whether you think the behavior is specific or not specific.

Use good hygiene. Specific
Not Specific
Wash your hands with soap and water before you prepare food. Specific
Not Specific
Take care of your child when he/she has diarrhea. Specific
Not Specific
Breastfeeding. Specific
Not Specific
Give your child ORS whenever he/she has diarrhea. Specific
Not Specific
Give your child nutritious foods. Specific
Not Specific
Give your child foods like mangoes and carrots that are rich in vitamin A. Specific
Not Specific
It is important for everyone to live in such a way as to avoid HIV. Specific
Not Specific
Be sexually abstinent before you are married to avoid AIDS. Specific
Not Specific

Let’s now return to our example of exclusive breastfeeding of children under six months of age and consider how to develop the behavior question.

Next (Developing the Behavior Question)

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© November 2004

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