The New Paradigm for SBC Professionals: Partnerships with the Private Sector


Twenty years ago, support for global health programs was generally under the purview of multinational non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies, bilateral organizations, and government funding mechanisms.

Today, 80 percent of the funding for those programs comes from private resources, including foreign direct investment, private donations, remittances, and other non-governmental sources.

The effect on social and behavior change (SBC) programs has been substantial—hundreds of programs now partner with the private sector. As a result, SBC program managers have developed new skill sets for effectively coordinating with private sector partners. Over the past decade, SBC programs have developed long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with multinational and local corporations, private health providers, individual donors, and other private sources. Typically, private sector partners’ involvement has included:

  • Financing
  • Supply Chain
  • Marketing
  • Technology

The value of partnering with the private sector is viewed by governments as a way of expanding access to higher-quality health services by leveraging capital, managerial capacity, and know-how. SBC professionals often work with a private sector partner to introduce them to the art and science of SBC. For both sides, the learning experience and the development of a mutually beneficial partnership is a win-win situation and is critical to the success of joint efforts.

In order to assist SBC professionals, Breakthrough ACTION has published a Trending Topic on the Compass, which provides a variety of references, tools, and program examples related to SBC programs involving the private sector.

If you have questions or want to add your resources, please contact the Compass.