The first African Social Marketing Association Conference with the theme “THE FUTURE IS FUSION”, was significantly tied to the conference’s mission of giving SBC its pride of place and getting the voice of SBC and Social Marketing (SM) practitioners heard.
The Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI) was proud to support the first African Social Marketing Association Conference that took place at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, from the 24th to the 26th of April 2023. This inaugural landmark conference, themed “THE FUTURE IS FUSION”, was significant, especially as a leading Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) organization. The organisers of the conference stayed true to their mission of giving SBC its pride of place and getting the voice of SBC and Social Marketing (SM) practitioners heard.
With a forward-looking theme that would consider the future for SBC/SM programmes, I was excited to represent CCSI at this conference. A unique feature of this conference was its ability to provide a platform for practitioners and researchers in the field, aptly demonstrating how the complementarity of these 2 fields was key for the future.
A proud moment for me (and for CCSI) was the keynote address by the Executive Director, Babafunke Fagbemi, which told the story of CCSI’s coming of age in “Build, Brand, and Brag: Thriving in a Complex Environment”. CCSI was put in the spotlight, and in addition to the keynote address, we made 5 other presentations, highlighting key lessons from programmes we have worked on. We have truly come a long way, and our work is evidence of this.
CCSI presented a total of 5 papers at the conference:
- HANDS Campaign Evaluation of a National Multimedia COVID-19 Campaign (Presented by Adenike Ayodele)
- Perceptions and Barriers to Enrolment on Ilera Eko (Presented by Oluyemi Abodunrin)
- The use of RFM for improving the quality of SBC interventions (Presented by Adenike Ayodele)
- Decolonizing SBC to create an organic movement – An Anti-corruption case study (Presented by Adenike Ayodele)
- Future-ready SBC (Presented by Babafunke Fagbemi)
I particularly love how we were able to infuse topical issues that have the potential for the future of SBC into our presentations. For example, the rich discussions we had after the presentation on ‘Decolonizing SBC’ will stay with me, as there really is a lot that SBC can learn from the power of a shared vision in organic social movements for change. We were also able to engage around the ‘Future-ready SBC’, as we considered the role of the large African youth population and emerging technologies.
A highlight of the conference was Cal Bruns of Matchboxology’s stirring to co-create what the African social marketing scene will become, based on our “agency” as practitioners and researchers. I still find myself pondering his statement that “Agency starts with voice, we need to have a better voice”. I hope and pray that my voice and that of every practitioner/researcher continue to speak on the topics that matter to us as Africans. With our agency, we have the power to truly make a difference in our lives.
I’ve come away from AfSMAC 2023 with many learnings and new connections that I look forward to CCSI utilizing in the coming years. The Future of SBC/SM truly is Fusion, and has room for all players, including young people.
The Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI) is a leading Social and Behaviour Change (SBC) organization with expertise in utilizing evidence from research to implement effective strategies that address barriers preventing designated audiences from adopting recommended behaviors.
Birthed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (JHCCP), Baltimore, USA, and registered in 2001 as a Non-Governmental Organization with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria, CCSI continues to work towards being the center of excellence in strategic communications in Africa.
Driven by values of integrity, passion, care, innovation, and excellence, CCSI focuses on the central role of strategic communication to impact behaviors, build brands, and provide technical leadership in health and social development.