The Department of Psychology and the Centre for Behavior Change and Communication host inaugural class on Social Behavior Change Course for Practitioners

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Caption: USIU-Africa’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza and Centre for Behavior Change and Communication (CBCC) MD, Mr. Peter L’parnoi sign the MOU which makes USIU-Africa the only institution in the region offering courses in Social and Behavior Change.

By Ruth Njuguna

USIU-Africa through the Department of Psychology and the Centre for Behavior Change and Communication (CBCC), entered into a partnership agreement to offer short courses and certification programs in Social and Behavior Change (SBC) through the Social and Behavior Change Regional Hub.

The two institutions signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) sealing the partnership agreement. Through this training, USIU Africa will be the only institution in the region to offer courses in SBC through the Department of Psychology in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The inaugural course, the Social and Behavior Change Training and Certification Programme for Practitioners was conducted virtually for five days between March 22 and March 26, 2021. This class was officially opened by Professor Munyae Mulinge, acting Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Academic and Student Affairs, USIU-Africa. The launch, which was graced by over 40 participants, also had present key management staff including the Chair of Psychology Department, Prof. Josephine Arasa and the CBCC Managing Director, Mr. Peter Lengewa. The five-day course had over 20 SBC learners, who successfully completed the certificate course.

Caption: Participants in the first Social and Behavior change training for practitioners online class.

Social Behavior Change (SBC) is an approach that helps to address complex and dynamic behavior-linked issues at individual, organizational and societal levels. This approach supports people-centered development and has been shown to influence lasting and sustainable behavior change.

CBCC faculty took the SBC learners through an intense program that included an initial rigorous individual capacity assessment that enabled the lessons to be adapted to suit their needs. The course is structured in key modules that are aligned to SBC systematic processes and key SBC principles. The learners were not only exposed to SBC theories but also practical examples and case studies of various SBC projects. The learning did not stop after the five-day course period, as the learners were given practical assignments to test the SBC theories within their actual work settings. This enabled them to successfully kick-start various SBC initiatives with acquired concepts.

Speaking following the training, Dr. Elsie Newa, a lecturer at USIU-Africa noted that the training was both eye-opening and insightful, giving her new tools in the practice of her profession.

“The training was an eye opener for me. The timeliness, rigor and professionalism that the team showed in the presentation of each session is commendable. As a counseling psychologist and lecturer in Psychology, the training has given me tools that I will endeavor to apply particularly in the ecological model in my counselling sessions and in class. This will help me to get an understanding on how culture and deep-rooted norms influence behavior including intrinsic reasons why some people change while others may not. I will put all the factors in consideration,” she said.

This sentiment was echoed by Elsie Wandera, CEO, Heroes for Change, who noted that the knowledge she had acquired would be used in putting in place impactful social interventions.

“The program by CBCC and USIU-Africa has been very informative for me. The lessons and principles I have learnt will be useful in ensuring at an organizational level we are able to develop impactful and concrete SBC programs and interventions that will impact communities,” she noted.

Having successfully undertaken this initial SBC course for practitioners, CBCC and USIU-Africa will be offering the second class on July 19-23, 2021. To secure your spot, apply here.

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