Performance Evaluation of the Passages Project and Implications for Future Social Norms Programming

The Passages project aims to address a broad range of social norms, at scale, to achieve sustained improvements in family planning and reproductive health. A four-person team conducted an externally-led evaluation to determine the achievements of the project and inform future investments around social norms. Evaluation questions looked at generating new research, building capacity, global technical leadership, value-added, and implications for future investments.
Passages is conducting two research studies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one focused on gender-role equality among youth and one working with faith communities to transform masculinities. The research has included an explicit focus on shifting social norms and scale-up. The project has built capacity among partners, partly through implementing realist evaluations to better understand mechanisms of change. Partners talk about gaining increased expertise on social norms and sharing and using this learning within their organizations. Important global technical leadership, primarily through the Learning Collaborative to Advance Normative Change, has helped bring a fragmented community together to gain greater consensus around definitions and measurement of social norms and produce a number of guidance documents. Passages made valuable contributions to work on gender, youth—particularly very young adolescents (ages 10-14)—and cross-sectoral discussions. The project has also leveraged significant support—more than $18 million—from other sections of USAID and other donors.
While there has been significant progress, there is still much to be done. A major recurring theme was the need to clearly frame social norms as part of social and behavior change. In addition, it will be important to provide continued support to synthesize information and disseminate it effectively, encourage utilization of lessons, and conduct research to address knowledge gaps.

Resource type: 
Operating Unit: 
Julie Solo
Suruchi Sood
Afeefa Abdur-Rahman
Julianne Weis
Publication date: 
November, 2019
Contract mechanism: 
GH Pro