Social Analysis and Action (SAA) - CARE
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Social Analysis and Action (SAA)

A woman wearing yellow walks around a room barefoot and speaks to a group of women.

CARE / Jorja Currington

CARE / Jorja Currington

CARE’s signature approach to gender norm transformation is Social Analysis and Action (SAA), a facilitated process through which individuals explore and challenge the social norms, beliefs, and practices that shape their lives and health.

CARE is committed to gender-transformative work. To that end, we partner with communities to challenge and transform inequitable gender norms that restrict women’s and girls’ ability to achieve their best possible health and lives. CARE’s signature approach to gender norm transformation is Social Analysis and Action (SAA).

SAA is a facilitated process through which individuals explore and challenge the social norms, beliefs, and practices that shape their lives and health. The goal of SAA is to help participants to surface and challenge restrictive norms and act together to create more equitable ones, while building support for sexual, reproductive, and maternal health and rights. Unique and central to SAA is that the process of critical reflection and dialogue begins with CARE staff, encouraging them to reflect on their own biases and beliefs and how they affect their work, and to make them more comfortable discussing sensitive issues with others.

A woman stands in front of a large group of youth. She is holding up cards while they listen.
A discussion about using SAA around task and decision making with youth groups. CARE / Timor-Leste

Key impacts

  • The SantéNet2 program in Madagascar conducted SAA with members of community health committees. Staff reported that committees in areas that participated in SAA demonstrated greater leadership and were more effective than committees in communes where SAA was not practiced.
  • In Benin, women and men involved in CARE’s Tékponon Jikuagou project were two-and-a-half times more likely to discuss family planning with their partner or spouse and more than twice as likely to visit a health center to obtain a contraceptive method after participating in SAA dialogues.

Social Analysis and Action in the context of Food and Nutrition Security (SAA-FNS)

SAA-FNS addresses the social, economic, and cultural factors that influence agriculture practices, livelihoods, climate resilience, nutritional health, gender inequality, and development. SAA-FNS is a community-based approach that facilitates dialogue, enabling critical thinking and reflection about how social conditions perpetuate food and nutrition insecurity and development challenges.  

SAA-FNS engages communities, CARE partners, and CARE staff in recurring critical reflection and dialogue to catalyze social change by building awareness of the link between social norms, gender equity, and power dynamics and food and nutrition security program impact. SAA-FNS is designed as an integrative approach that enhances existing project activities and catalyzes community action planning, collective actions, and the work of CARE and CARE staff. The goal of SAA-FNS is to facilitate a community-led social change process through which participants act together to create more equitable social and gender norms and address development challenges. 

Social Analysis and Action (SAA) Resources

SAA Overview Brief

Provides the basics of what the SAA process looks like and how it is implemented.

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SAA Global Implementation Manual

Provides an in-depth description of SAA core tools and adaptation of those tools for each step of the SAA process and an introduction to monitoring, evaluation, and learning for SAA.

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SAA Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

Provides guidance to implementers of SAA who are seeking to develop or strengthen their program’s comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework to include SAA and gain a deeper understanding of the changes facilitated by using the model.

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SAA Ideas and Action (English)

This publication, designed for CARE program planners and managers and focused on sexual and reproductive health, explains SAA at both a conceptual and practical level (includes description of SAA process, case studies, and tools).

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SAA Ideas and Action (French)

This publication, designed for CARE program planners and managers and focused on sexual and reproductive health, explains SAA at both a conceptual and practical level (includes description of SAA process, case studies, and tools).

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SAA Ideas and Action (Spanish)

This publication, designed for CARE program planners and managers and focused on sexual and reproductive health, explains SAA at both a conceptual and practical level (includes description of SAA process, case studies, and tools).

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SAA Staff Reflection Guide

The Self-Reflection and Challenging process helps prepare staff and SAA facilitators to lead these same challenging processes with communities.

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Guidance for Pairing SAA with Community Score Card

The guidance begins with a high‐level comparison of the two approaches, including their purpose, the implementation process, and how their impact is achieved. The following section provides examples for how the two approaches could be linked and the potential benefit.

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