Because our approach is to strive to
understand behavior changes from the point of view of the
people making those changes, we have discovered repeatedly
in formative research that remembering to do something and
how to do it is a common barrier to desirable behaviors. To
address this barrier, we developed the concept of "take-home
reminder materials." In the Nutrition
Communication/ Behavior Change Project (NCBC) in Indonesia
in the late 1970s, we designed a series of "action posters"
to remind mothers of key actions related to mothers' nutrition
during pregnancy, mothers' nutrition when breastfeeding, and
feeding babies at various ages. Posted in people's homes,
the posters were supposed to be checked off each day when
mothers carried out the recommended actions. In monitoring
visits, it was found that many mothers were not checking off
each day, but the materials were effective in reminding them
to carry out the health-promoting practices.
Since that first experience, we have used reminder materials
in dozens of projects, including the Integrated Child Health
Scheme in India in the mid-1980s, numerous child feeding projects
in the late 1980s, and numerous maternal health projects in
the 1990s (the reminders focused on taking daily iron pills).
materials in conjunction with sick child visits. In Nicaragua
(via the OMNI
), mothers' signed "contracts" to take their daily
iron tablets and were given a reminder material with rows
of small "smiley faces" missing their smiles. The mother drew
the smile each day once she took her pill. Finally, in collaboration
with Project HOPE (via the CHANGE Project), we assisted with
formative research and the development of "mother
reminder materials" [1.8MB pdf]
on child health danger
signs in 9 countries.