Students Create New Environmental Strategy for Lake Ripley
With the help of University of Wisconsin-Madison students, communities around Lake Ripley in southeastern Wisconsin are among the first in the state to use an innovative social strategy known as community-based social marketing, or CBSM, to deal with an environmental problem…
The students adopted CBSM because research shows that traditional education campaigns aren't always effective. Informational brochures may change attitudes and beliefs, but urging people to "do the right thing" doesn't usually change their behavior. CBSM focuses on what may be preventing people from changing those behaviors — why, for instance, they keep smoking even if they know it's bad for them. It uses focus groups and other market research to identify the barriers to changing behavior and strategies to overcome them.
A Life Aquatic
We’ve done work with the Institute for Learning Innovation and other groups that are focused on understanding, from the perspective of behavioral psychology and social marketing, how people learn, and how they change their behavior. Habits are ingrained, and it’s hard to get people to change, especially when they feel powerless. In our experience, if you get somebody to make a change and then celebrate what they’re doing and make them advocates for creating change elsewhere, that seems to be something that works…
We don’t want to repeat the work of other organizations. We really want environmentalism to become mainstream and part of popular culture, because that’s when things happen. That’s why we’re a storytelling organization.
The Condom Debate
…Dr Sam Okware of Uganda’s Ministry of Health believes it actually was a combination of the three aspects of the ABC approach that helped the country bring the epidemic down to more manageable levels. Okware said he thinks that in large part, that was because ABC made no value judgments, but instead offered a range of options for everyone.
“Even in the same individual, in the morning you are on mode A,” Okware told an interviewer last June. “In the evening you are on mode B. And maybe at night, after a small drink, you are on mode C, and vice versa.”
But in 2003 and 2004, the delicate, often uneasy balance among the three parts of the ABC strategy began to shift. Bush administration officials began working with the Ugandan government to develop a new “emergency plan” for combating HIV/Aids, with the avowed goal of averting 165,000 new infections over a five-year period, according to PEPFAR documents.
The new effort wouldn't totally exclude condoms — the US would buy and ship 47 million of them in 2005. But their use would be promoted only to a narrow “increased risk” segment of the adult population, including roving fishermen, truck drivers, soldiers, and commercial sex workers and their clientele. (The “social marketing” promotion effort would include putting condoms and literature about HIV/Aids in bars, nightclubs, truck stops and drugstores and offering counselling through outreach organisations.)
“We have erroneously given more prominence to condoms, and this is going to change,” Uganda’s then-Minister for Information, Nsaba Buturo explained. “It is now going to be equal treatment…”