CARE in partnership with FHI 360, International Youth Foundation (IYF), Environment Africa (EA), Bulawayo Projects Centre (BPC) and Nutrition Action Zimbabwe (NAZ) is leading implementation of this USAID-funded, five-year US $55 Million Resilience Food Security Activity (RFSA) Project called “Takunda”. Takunda aims to transform lives and livelihoods and empower 301,636 participants in four vulnerable districts in Masvingo Province (i.e., Chivi and Zaka Districts) and Manicaland Province (i.e., Buhera and Mutare). The project targets very poor, chronically vulnerable, and malnutrition-risk households in these districts, with a special focus on women of childbearing age, youth (young men and women aged 15-35 years), adolescent boys and girls and children under the age of five years. Takunda seeks to address four primary challenges affecting food and nutrition security: (1) poverty and limited financial resources; (2) gender inequality and persistent negative social norms, cultural beliefs, and behaviors; (3) limited youth empowerment; (4) weak institutional / organizational governance and accountability.
Based on these primary challenges, Takunda’s project interventions can be classified into three parallel intervention areas, organized in three purposes and three cross-cutting themes in the project’s Theory of Change (ToC). The first area seeks to improve household incomes and create integrated pathways of savings and lending. This implementation area aims to improve agricultural practices and business skills through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), as well as establish market linkages and build off/non-farm enterprises. Secondly, the project will implement strategies to improve household, women, and child nutritional status through Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) programming promoting dietary diversity, increased caloric intake, domestic production of food for household consumption and other similar activities. This area will also seek to improve community and household Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) environments and behaviors. Thirdly, the program promotes strategies that enhance resilience to shocks and stressors. These will build on the income diversification activities and efforts to build sustainable agricultural development programming at the community and household level that can adapt to climate variations and drought. Also, building on local community assets, Takunda will seek to increase local social capital levels and problem-solving capacity, thereby enhancing local adaptability and resilience. Takunda will, also address and prioritize key cross-cutting factors that drive vulnerability, food insecurity and mal-/under-nutrition; these are gender inequality, youth empowerment and local governance and accountability and environmental safeguards. All three program purposes will utilize a cross-cutting Social and Behavior Change (SBC) pathway to shift social norms, behaviors, and attitudes.
To help inform development of the SBC formative research, Takunda project conducted an SBC Landscape Analysis and Literature Review (LA&LR) (report in Annex 1). This, together with the ToC evidence gap analysis and discussions during the inception process and the Gender, Youth and Social Dynamics (GYSD) workshops identified several knowledge and information gaps that will inform the program’s SBC Strategy and help refine the program’s focus for each purpose area. These can be summarized as follows:
· While there is an abundance of retrospective literature on the characteristics of farmers who adopt agricultural innovations, their decision processes and channels for communication are not very well understood. In addition, risk management practices in livelihood activities are often weak and often driven by fate, even where communities can actively engage in actions to reduce the adverse impacts of climate, health and market shocks.
· There are inherent challenges, such as inequitable gender norms, with managing and running community group activities, particularly those led by women. In addition, farmer groups face several barriers to entering viable and lucrative agriculture markets, including access to information – markets, health, and early warning, for vulnerable groups, resource constraints, and norms around traditional practices.
· The barriers and facilitators to accessing health and nutrition services, new and improved agriculture, livelihood generation technologies and resilience building opportunities and how these can be overcome are not well understood; and
· The program needs to better understand the social, cultural, and religious norms affecting sub-optimal nutrition and health practices for women, caregivers, adolescents and children and the impact they have on Takunda’s target groups seeking, accessing, and utilizing RMNCAH services.
Additionally, this SOW was informed by the findings and recommendations of a Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA) review of DFSA SBC interventions, which highlighted key weaknesses of reviewed programs and made recommendations for future similar interventions like Takunda. Key weaknesses identified included: focusing too heavily on knowledge and having little focus on other enabling factors for promoted behaviors; a failure to fully identify and define target audiences and audience segments; and insufficient inclusion of community members in guiding program implementation, particularly women, youth, and vulnerable groups. These findings led the review to make these recommendations for future programs:
· Have a better understanding of broader social norms that influence nutritional behaviors or economic activities to bolster decisions and activities within households.
· Use participatory methods such as social action and analysis (SAA) and selection of interventions by participants (SIPS), or trials in improved practices (TIPs), to gather broad information on enabling environments while gaining insights into why and how people adopt key behaviors; and
· Use participatory methods to help promote greater equity in program implementation, especially the inclusion of women, youth, and vulnerable groups, as well as fostering buy in among participants.
In order to apply these recommendations and fill important knowledge gaps, Takunda will conduct a participatory SBC Formative Research Study (SBC-FRS) to understand the Takunda program environment and participants, to consult with target participants in selecting interventions, and to better understand the broader social norms that influence desired behaviors. This will strengthen Takunda’s SBC strategy and enable the project to develop SBC activities and approaches that will contribute to sustained adoption and practicing of all promoted behaviors, technologies, and approaches.
Takunda will therefore conduct systematic formative research that will include a strong focus on social and cultural norms, and other current perceptions and practices, that may affect the uptake of promoted behaviors and practices across the three project purposes, identify the drives of these and try to explore mitigatory measures. The formative research will inform the development of the project’s cross-cutting SBC strategy from problem analysis, audience segmentation, identification of key activities at community level, key messages, and key delivery channels.
In addition to the SBC-FRS, Takunda will also conduct four other studies. A Gender Analysis (GA), which will be guided by the five gender domains of change to assess how socio-cultural norms, behaviors, and religious practices influence patterns of power around decision making in private and public spheres, access and control of resources and intra-household role distribution. To complement this, the SBC-FRS will assess how these gender domains may be influencing adoption of behaviors and practices to be promoted by Takunda and how these could be addressed. The results of the two studies will provide a holistic picture of how Takunda should tackle these social issues and influence positive change that minimizes unintended risks on target participants. The approved GA Scope of Work is appended in Annex 2.
A Market Systems and Value Chain Analysis and a Youth Opportunities, Capacities, Financial and Labor Market Assessment will also be conducted, and these will help to highlight actual behaviors that Takunda should promote, informed by an analysis of what is happening now and what needs to happen more to see meaningful changes in communities. The Takunda Community Visioning (CV) process will reveal community visions, aspirations, and priorities, but may not reveal the social, cultural, and environmental barriers preventing Takunda target population from adopting the relevant behaviors and practices they need to achieve these. The SBC Formative research seeks to identify these barriers, as well as any enabling factors that the program can leverage on to encourage adoption of recommended behaviors. Continued community engagement will provide further information useful to adapt the Takunda SBC Strategy.
A Covid-19 impact assessment is also planned, which will assess the impact of Covid-19 on some of the behaviors and practices to be promoted by Takunda, with a view to refining entry points and learning lessons from the process. The SBC-FRS results and subsequently SBC Strategy will be further enriched by these findings. Similarly, the SBC-FRS will not deliberately assess how Covid-19 has impacted on current practices and behaviors. However, it will take note of this as reported by participants during the data collection process. A program level census is also planned and expected to identify communities’ major sources and channels of information, and their preferred channels.
The Takunda project proposal clearly articulates the primary challenges that informed the project design, justifying this design by highlighting the impact of these challenges on food insecurity, malnutrition, and chronic vulnerability to repeated shocks in Zimbabwe and among Takunda project participants. The program’s ToC
 Packard, Mary. 2018. Report on a Review of Social and Behavior Change Methods and Approaches within Food for Peace Development Food Security Activities. Washington, DC: Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III Project (FANTA)/FHI 360.
 Community members will trial new behaviors to inform project strategies.