Breakthrough RESEARCH is designing three complementary studies in Zambia, Nigeria, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to evaluate the impact of integrated social and behavior change (SBC) programs—i.e., those designed to address more than one health or development issue. In Zambia, Breakthrough RESEARCH is working closely with its sister project, Breakthrough ACTION, to use realist evaluation to help SBC implementers design, evaluate, and adapt their programs based on evidence. A realist evaluation asks: What works? For whom? In what contexts? During the program’s design phase, the evaluation and program teams work together to conceptualize and map the pathways through which behavior change is expected to occur. They then meet periodically during implementation to review and apply the available evidence, data, and program results.

In Nigeria, Breakthrough RESEARCH is working with Breakthrough ACTION to design and implement a phased evaluation plan to inform programming and assess the impact of integrated SBC that addresses family planning, maternal, newborn and child health, and malaria. Work in DRC is expected to begin in 2019.