Developing appropriate illustrations
Counseling for behavior change
Improving health provider skill
reminder materials

Reminder Materials

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 on 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). In Guatemala we developed materials in conjunction with sick child visits. In Nicaragua (via the OMNI Project), 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.