EACL Network Brief EASTERN AFRICA LEARNING COLLABORATIVE ON SOCIAL AND GENDER NORMS PRACTICE
The School of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University and CARE International in Uganda
The Center on Gender Equity and Health at the University of California San Diego
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Social norms—the often unspoken rules that govern behaviour—shape almost every aspect of human life. In the Eastern African Region, social and gender norms are pivotal in positioning and determining peoples’ ways of life, shaping opportunities and outcomes. The impact of harmful social norms, such as expectations related to gender-based violence, childbearing, women’s economic engagement, reproductive health, and masculinity have received increasing attention over the last decade. As more programs seek to foster norms that support healthy and positive behaviours, there is an opportunity to advance understanding of social and gender norms—what they are, how to measure them, and how they influence behaviour— and how to scale-up normative interventions that show promise. Given the increasing number of researchers and practitioners working on social and gender norms, it is a critical moment to make the latest knowledge and evidence on social and gender norms widely accessible and provide opportunities for practitioners and researchers from different disciplines and sectors to share and generate knowledge. Moreover, as social and gender norms initiatives expand, opportunities for reflection on what constitutes promising practices for shifting norms, the costs and scalability of these approaches, high-quality measurement and the ethics of social and gender norms transformation becomes ever more urgent.