Study of social network mapping in Benin published in Global Public Health journal
“Moving from theory to practice: A participatory social network mapping approach to address unmet need for family planning in Benin,” a new article by IRH’s Susan Igras, Mariam Diakité, and Rebecka Lundgren, has been published in Global Public Health. The article details the participatory social network mapping methodology used in the Tékponon Jikuagou project.
In the local language of Adja in Benin, Tékponon Jikuagou means “doing everything possible to prevent infant mortality.” This includes using family planning to achieve healthy timing and spacing of births. In Benin, socio-cultural factors are hugely influential in couples’ decisions to use family planning. Tékponon Jikuagou is testing ways to tap into social networks to spread new ideas and limit social barriers to family planning.
As detailed in the article, the Tékponon Jikuagou used social network theory to identify influential members of the community who would be able to disseminate new ideas. Community members identified individuals and groups in their network and ranked ranked their influence as related to health, well-being, and community connectivity. The team could then approach these influencers and support them through reflective dialogue activities.
“The approach opens the door to social change brought about by members of the community because of the confidence we have in them through their counsel, their behaviors or their social or economic position,” Diakité explained. By using social network mapping, “innovation is better accepted and social change is brought about normally.”
Evaluation of this process (including in-depth interviews, monitoring data, and evaluation reports) showed that the method was well accepted by both the community and project staff. The method validly and reliably identified those in the community who were well connected and influential, laying the groundwork for social change.
Read the full article or download the PDF (Open Access) here.
Learn more about Tékponon Jikuagou.