A CLA Approach to Generating and Using Research for Social Marketing in Afghanistan
The Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus activity in Afghanistan works to strengthen the impact and sustainability of the Afghan Social Marketing Organization (ASMO), which markets subsidized child and reproductive health products with the goal of improving the well-being of the Afghan population. However, Afghanistan has a paucity of recent market research on health products, and it has been challenging for ASMO to find evidence to effectively and efficiently target its health product marketing and distribution strategies. Thus, SHOPS Plus and ASMO collaborated to build their own technical evidence base, employing USAID’s CLA approach to ensure that new evidence would be appropriately interpreted and used to adapt ASMO’s operations and programs. Together, we conducted product availability and reach and recall surveys, held pause and reflect workshops to consider how results could make ASMO more efficient and effective, and have begun implementing action plans that we believe will make ASMO more sustainable (e.g., media buys that maximize cost-effectiveness) and more effective in realizing its mission (e.g., improving demand generation activities by tailoring messaging to consumer perceptions and social norms). ASMO’s openness to engage with and learn about the research process was essential to our CLA narrative. ASMO took ownership over the research process and enhanced their technical research capacity. They will conduct the next product availability survey with minimal SHOPS Plus oversight. This improves their sustainability beyond the period of SHOPS Plus assistance. Further, it enables ASMO to continually learn and adapt their programming based on up-to-date evidence.