Student Competition

Social Behavior Change Communication Lion’s Den (Health Communication Case Competition)


SBCC Student CompetitionThe line-up of speakers and presenters at the International Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Summit will include seasoned experts to discuss field-proven ideas from the past 30 years. But who will shape the future of SBCC over the next 30 years? Who will design the next health communication interventions that inspire and challenge fellow practitioners to see the field differently? Where are the up and coming experts with innovative ideas for how to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges through communication?

Through the international SBCC Lion’s Den, a Health Communication case competition, undergraduate and graduate students will work in interdisciplinary teams to respond to this call and develop proposals for innovative, feasible and sustainable health communication interventions. The intervention proposals will be targeted at real-life community health challenges and grounded in proven SBCC frameworks and theories.

A total of three (3) teams will be selected to have representatives attend the SBCC Summit where they will receive feedback, guidance and mentoring to further refine their proposals and then present them before a panel of health communication experts. The team with the strongest proposal and pitch will receive $5,000 to further develop their concept and implement a small-scale, six-month pilot project in their local community to demonstrate “proof of concept” and the potential for the intervention to be replicated and scaled.

The committee invites proposals that:

  • Demonstrate how SBCC can be used to influence positive health outcomes
  • Focus on handwashing as an intervention area that address a related health topic
  • Present a community-level solution to an identified health challenge
  • Use an interdisciplinary approach to SBCC
  • Would be implemented in a lower- or lower-middle-income country (as defined by the World Bank)



Proposals should be no longer than five (5) pages in length and written in English. Each proposal should include a narrative of the team’s approach, including the following:

  • Background on the target community and the challenges it faces with regard to handwashing
  • Description of the proposed intervention and desired behavioral outcomes, including its underlying theoretical basis and intended target audience
  • Clearly articulated qualitative and quantitative outcome indicators that are realistic and achievable within a six-month timeframe
  • A high-level, six-month work plan and budget
  • A simple, focused monitoring and evaluation plan with the purpose of demonstrating “proof of concept”

Teams and proposals that demonstrate an interdisciplinary approach, combining complementary talents and methodologies from communication, public health, business, technology, and other relevant fields, are preferred. Identification of a local non-governmental, civil society or faith-based organization with whom the project would be implemented is not required but highly encouraged.

Proposals must be based on evidence and developed using proven health communication theories and frameworks. A curated suite of high-quality materials and resources can be found on the Health Compass website and used as reference.

Plagiarism is unacceptable and will result in immediate elimination. Proposals must outline an original idea and approach developed by the team.


The winning team will be awarded $5,000 to further refine their idea and implement a six-month pilot project. Each proposal must include a high-level budget in US dollars showing how the money will be used to implement and evaluate the intervention.


The competition will be administered in two phases. During the first phase, student teams will work together to submit their written proposal to the committee via email. The committee will review the proposals based on the guidelines and criteria outlined above and select a total of three finalist teams. These teams will move in to the second phase of the competition where they will refine and present their proposals at the SBCC Summit. There are no restrictions to the geographic location or size of each team; however, the committee will only cover travel expenses for three members of any finalist teams from lower- or lower-middle-income country (as defined by the World Bank).

While at the SBCC Summit, finalists will have the opportunity to network with and learn from SBCC experts and practitioners from around the world. They will also have access to mentors who will provide the teams with feedback on their proposal and final presentations. Guidelines for final presentations will be shared with finalists upon notice of selection. A panel of health communication experts will judge the final presentations during an event open to all SBCC Summit participants.

The winning team will be expected to submit a “proof of concept” report six (6) months after beginning implementation of their project that captures key lessons learned and demonstrates feasibility and potential for sustainable replication and scale.


Any questions related to this call for proposals were due Monday, December 14, 2015, 12 PM (noon) GMT. Answers are posted below.

All final proposals are due by Friday, January 8, 2016 and must be submitted via email to

Proposals must be submitted in English and include the following:

  • Technical and financial proposal
  • Brief biography of each student team member


Prospective applicants were given the opportunity to submit clarifying questions by the deadline outlined in the Call for Proposals. Below, please find answers to the questions submitted by potential applicants by the due date. As indicated in the Call for Proposals, questions and responses are shared with all prospective applicants.

The deadline for all applications is 11:59 P.M. EST, Baltimore time, Friday, January 8, 2016.

  1. Is the competition open to students around the world or only in Ethiopia?

There are no restrictions to the geographic location or size of each team; however, the committee will only cover travel expenses for three members of any finalist teams from lower- or lower middle income countries (as defined by the World Bank).

  1. Our group has an innovation that particularly targets adolescent sexual reproductive health social change. Is this project eligible for the competition?

Proposals must focus on handwashing as an intervention area that addresses a related health topic as outlined in the Call for Proposals.  All proposals that adhere to the guidelines are eligible.

  1. Will teams that place 2nd and 3rd receive any type of monetary award to help make their projects a reality?

Only the 1st place team will receive funding to implement their project; however, representatives of the 2nd and 3rd place teams will be provided with the opportunity to attend the SBCC Summit free of cost, network with members of the global community of SBCC professionals, and receive mentoring from SBCC experts.

  1. Is it appropriate to submit a proposal that stems from an existing intervention, but focuses on identifying and addresses gaps in the current system?

Proposals can focus on specific ways to extend or add novel, innovative elements to an existing intervention rather than proposing an entirely new one. However, funding cannot be used to replicate or scale an existing intervention as-is, or conduct a gap analysis—any gaps must be identified beforehand and included in the background/context section of the proposal as part of the basis for the project idea.

  1. What are the specific dates that students will need to be present at the Summit? Additionally, what is the extent of travel expenses (i.e. food, airfare, lodging) covered for those from low to middle income countries?

Students should attend the Summit for the full three days so that they can receive mentoring and critical feedback and guidance prior to their final presentations. Expenses that are covered include: airfare, visa, accommodation, food and registration to the Summit.

  1. Is it appropriate to involve faculty or graduates in the project?

Faculty and graduates can serve as advisors or mentors to student teams but they cannot be core members of any team and are not eligible to receive funding support for Summit participation through this competition.

  1. Is a graduate from a post graduate school eligible to apply or participate in the competition?

The competition is only for students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program.