What is a Behavior Profile?

A Behavior Profile is an analysis of a specific behavior. It delineates logical pathways from the behavior to the factors and supporting actors influencing the behavior, to program strategies. A Behavior Profile is created for the specific context (e.g., region, country, locale) using desktop research, formative research, and what is presently known about the behavior. 

A Behavior Profile puts all essential information about a priority behavior in a simple to read table.

What steps are needed to practice this behavior?


What prevents or supports practice of the behavior?

Provider competencies
Family and community support
Attitudes and beliefs
Supporting Actors
Who must support the practice of the behavior?

Policy makers
Logistics personnel
Community leaders
Religious leaders
Family members
Male partners

How might we best focus our actions?

Enabling Environment
Institutional capacity building
Partnerships and networks
Policies and governance
Systems, Products and Services
Products and technology
Supply Chain
Quality Improvement
Demand and Use
Collective Engagement
Skills building

How to Read a Behavior Profile

Example of a Behavior Profile

Click on each factor to see the pathways to change from factor to strategy.

Behavior Profile: Antenatal Care
Health Goal: Improve maternal and child survival
Pregnant women complete a full course of quality antenatal care (ANC)
Indicator: Percentage of women who had a live birth in the three years preceding the survey who had 4+ antenatal care visits

Behavior Analysis



What steps are needed to practice this behavior?

Pregnant women complete a full course of quality antenatal care (ANC)

  1. Recognize signs and symptoms of pregnancy
  2. Decide to seek ANC early, before the end of the first trimester
  3. Plan transport, resources, and logistics
  4. Attend all recommended ANC visits
  5. Obtain all required services (history, examination, screening and tests, treatments, preventive measures, health education and counseling) from qualified provider at each visit
  6. Adhere to provider instructions during and following each visit, including when to return for the next visit


What factors may prevent or support practice of this behavior?
Accessibility: Pregnant women cannot access health facilities because they are too far.
Accessibility: Pregnant women do not attend multiple ANC visits because they struggle to afford the costs that come in addition to on-going essential expenditures.
Service Provider Competencies: Pregnant women cannot obtain quality ANC because providers neither respect them nor effectively communicate relevant technical information or explain the benefits of the different services, tests, and medications given during ANC.
Service Experience: Pregnant women do not go for ANC because the health facilities often lack the tests, medications, or supplements that women need, or payment is required when services and products should be free.
Family and Community Support: Many pregnant adolescents and unmarried women are reluctant to seek early care because of stigma or the risk that they will be asked to leave school or quit their job.
Family and Community Support: Pregnant women do not plan to attend, or attend ANC because family and community members do not encourage or support their attendance.
Norms: Pregnant women do not seek ANC because many societies have strict cultural or traditional practices around disclosure of pregnancy.
Attitudes and Beliefs: Pregnant women do not always perceive a value to multiple ANC visits if they have already had one or more healthy pregnancies.
Attitudes and Beliefs: Pregnant women do not always comply with provider's instructions particularly related to medications, supplements, or foods because of beliefs about the adverse effects of the medication or foods on their fetus.
Knowledge: Most pregnant women attend at least one ANC visit because they understand its benefits.


Who must support the practice of this behavior, and what actions must they take?
Policymakers: Ensure maternity care is accessible via insurance schemes, conditional cash transfers (CCTs) or other financing.
Policymakers: Ensure pregnant adolescents can still attend school.
Managers: Provide effective supervision and on-site support to ensure quality ANC services.
Logistics Personnel: Monitor and properly forecast stock of essential tests, medicines, and supplements.
Providers: Offer counseling and support to pregnant women during ANC visits, including thorough explanations of services provided as well as the importance of multiple visits and adherence to supplements or medications given.
Community and Religious Leaders: Publicly support or promote ANC including programs that attempt to reduce stigma and encourage women to talk to their partners about early pregnancy care.
Community Health Workers/Peer Educators : Encourage or actively support women to seek a full course of ANC and to continue following provider's instructions once at home.
Family Members: Actively participate in ANC and support women, especially first-time mothers and adolescents, in all aspects of pregnancy and delivery planning.
Male Partners: Actively support finances, planning, and transportation for ANC for pregnant women.


What strategies will best focus our efforts based on this analysis?

Strategy requires Communication Support

Enabling Environment
Financing: Expand free or low-cost access to products and services through vouchers or fee exceptions to ensure access to ANC.
Financing: Finance task-shifting and explore community-based service delivery such as iron and folic acid supplements.
Policies and Governance: Adopt and enforce policies to permit pregnant adolescents to attend school.
Policies and Governance: Establish a policy for areas with poor health facility access to have the most basic ANC services, such as iron and folic acid supplement resupply managed at the community level.
Systems, Products and Services
Supply Chain: Strengthen supply chains for essential drugs, supplements, and preventative medicines for ANC.
Quality Improvement: Train and support providers to emphasize value of completing all ANC visits as well as active birth planning.
Quality Improvement: Expand services and improve structures, including hours offered, types of services available, transparent costing of services when appropriate and use of ANC outreach services to encourage pregnant women to use ANC.
Quality Improvement: Ensure that services are client- and family-friendly and that counseling on follow-up care is provided to both the pregnant women and any family members accompanying her.
Demand and Use
Communication: Use targeted media, including SMS where possible, to send tailored reminders and tips for pregnant women and their families on both ANC attendance and adherence to supplements like iron and folic acid.
Communication: Create pregnancy and new-mother groups to help mothers understand the benefit of care throughout pregnancy and the post-partum period.
Collective Engagement: Train and use traditional leaders and traditional birth attendants to encourage women to seek early and multiple ANC visits.

Behavior Profile Tool
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behaviors that address the causes inhibiting achievement of the goal and establish behavioral indicators
Launch Prioritize Tool | View Tutorial
Prioritize Behaviors Offline Tool (PDF)
* Remember you need to determine your Priority Behaviors before you create Behavior Profiles! Login to Create Priority List
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priority behaviors to lay out the logical pathways to change and establish factor-level indicators
View Sample Behavior Profiles to use as a starting point for developing your own country-specific profiles

Launch Behavior Profile Tool   |   View Tutorial
Create a Behavior Profile Offline Tool (PDF)
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analyses of multiple behaviors to identify commonalities for strategy development or program design 
Launch Summarize Tool  |  View Tutorial
Summarize Behaviors Offline Tool (PDF)
Design Tools

Learn the many different ways your Behavior Profiles can be useful to your work.
How to Use your Behavior Profiles

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a behaviorally-focused program, activity, or mechanism 
Go to Procurement Design Documents

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the program, activity, or mechanism
Go to Manage Documents
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your targets based on indicators established for priority behaviors
Launch Set Targets Tool
Set Targets Offline Tool (PDF)

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your behavioral outcomes
Launch Behavioral Outcomes Dashboard
Establish Behaviorial Outcomes Indicators (PDF)
Assess Behaviorial Outcomes Indicators (PDF)
Indicator Tracking Table (Word)

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your program over time
Adaptive Management Guidance (PDF)

Sample Behavior Profiles

What is a Sample Behavior Profile?
The initial Sample Behavior Profiles are Behavior Profiles created by USAID/Washington technical teams for use by USAID Mission staff and Implementing Partners. Thesel sample Behavior Profiles were developed for select priority behaviors most closely linked to maternal and child mortality reduction. Additional sample Behavior Profiles are being created for other health and non-health development goals as the need arises. These profiles are based on a consensus discussion among technical experts and a review of selected global evidence and the steps, critical factors, and programmatic considerations known to be important to achieving a positive behavioral outcome.

How can these Sample Behavior Profiles be used?
The Sample Behavior Profiles have several potential uses. However, we strongly recommend that they not substitute for country-specific Behavior Profiles based on local evidence and inputs from locally informed technical experts. View List

As a context-specific Behavior Profile is developed, the Sample Behavior Profiles can serve in three ways:

  1. Orientation: These profiles can orient program managers to the behaviors generally considered important to development goals such as reducing malnutrition, controlling malaria, and strengthening governance.

  2. Starting Point: These profiles can serve as a guide to prompt thinking on what might or might not be locally relevant and important, adding or deleting information from the profile as applicable or little research is presently available.

  3. Check on the Local Design Process: These profiles can provide a quick comparison to raise important issues that might have been overlooked and reassure the team that the context-specific profile is complete.

Click on a topic below to access these Behavior Profiles.

Find more information, ideas, and examples of how USAID Missions are using Behavior Profiles, Download How to Use Behavior Profiles and Behavior Summaries.