The Effectiveness of a Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Strategy in Changing Social Attitudes on Equal Rights to Property for Women – The Case of Kosovo

Published in: Annual World Bank Land and Poverty Conference

The society in Kosovo is considered patriarchal and patrilineal, where property inheritance is traditionally transferred to men (Joireman, 2015). Even though the laws on Gender Equality and Law on Inheritance are considered egalitarian, the social norms continue to encourage patriarchal values that exclude women from property inheritance.

This paper will address the social context and norms related to property inheritance. It will discuss how it has negatively affected women’s ability to inherit and own property, and will describe interventions implemented under the USAID-funded Property Rights Program (PRP), namely a multi-channel Social and Behavior Change Communications (SBCC) campaign, with the aim of countering these negative effects. The application of an SBCC methodology to encourage change in beliefs, attitudes and behavior on women freely exercising their property rights in practice will be the focus of this paper.

To influence social change, often an SBCC strategy (hereinafter campaign) is considered to be effective in achieving a desired change on social determinants that often shape human interaction. Such determinants may include knowledge, attitudes, norms and cultural practices. PRP’s SBCC campaign was designed with the aim to encourage change in beliefs, attitudes and behaviors so that women are seen as capable stewards of property, valued economic actors, and benefiting from tenure security. A comprehensive SBCC campaign using television and radio public service announcements, billboards, opinion-editorial pieces in the written media, and an active social media presence is already showing positive desired change in social norms, namely changes in social attitudes and behaviors for equal property rights for women. PRP’s latest research [Mid-Term National Survey on Property Rights in Kosovo, July 2017] indicates an increase of affirmative attitude toward equality in property rights between men and women, from 64% (Baseline, 2015) to 73% (Mid-term, 2017).

Key Words: Gender Equality; Women’s Property Rights; Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC); Patriarchal/Patrilineal Society.