A resource guide on how behavioural science is applied in international development

Right now, there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on in the world of behavioural science (BeSci) and international development. Organisations are starting to understand the value of behavioural insights and theories of behaviour for their work. I’ll be sharing another article on some of the ways in which behavioural science has helped to improve the design and implementation of development programmes.

This is a quick overview of interesting resources for NGOs to give you inspiration and hopefully pique your interest to work with BeSci in your next project, if you are not already doing so!


“The Mind, Behavior, and Development Unit (eMBeD), the World Bank’s behavioral sciences team, works closely with project teams, governments, and other partners to diagnose, design, and evaluate behaviorally informed interventions. By collaborating with a worldwide network of scientists and practitioners, the eMBeD team provides answers to important economic and social questions, and contributes to the global effort to eliminate poverty and increase equity.”


“The OECD uses an inductive approach to policy making that combines insights from psychology, cognitive science, and social science with empirically-tested results to discover how humans actually make choices.”


“Our team of experienced Social and Behavior Change (SBC) professionals identifies the latest resources to help you enhance your projects, improve your skills, and review impactful projects from around the world. And we invite you, as users, to upload your own materials to share with your colleagues.” 


“Innovative solutions based on how people act and make decisions in the real world are often buried in academic journals. The Behavioral Evidence Hub (B-Hub) brings them into the light of day. On the B-Hub you’ll find strategies proven to amplify the impact of programs, products, and services—and improve lives.”

UN Behavioural Insights Group

“The UN Innovation Network has set up a Behavioural Insights Group, which comprises of more than 200 members from across 40+ UN Entities and 60 countries. The Group promotes awareness and supports behavioural insights work at the UN; provides learning opportunities about BI approaches and methods; and brings views and approaches from outside to the UN. The UN BI Group collaborates with academics in the behavioural sciences and organisations specialising in designing and implementing behaviourally-informed projects.”

The Communication Initiative Network

“The Communication Initiative Network convenes the communication and media development, social and behavioural change community for more effective local, national, and international development action.”

Recommended reading:

Carter, B. (2017). Using Behavioural Insights to Address Complex Development Challenges. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Shankar, M. & Foster, L. (2016). Behavioural insights at the United Nations. Achieving Agenda 2030. United Nations.