Social Norms Researcher

Terms of Reference

Request for Proposal (RFP) to Conduct a Research on Changing Social Norms on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights through Digital Media


  • Collect available data from RNW Media’s two partner organisations’ digital media platforms.
  • Analyse the role of the digital media to change SRHR related social norms and provide evidence on the impact of co-created digital solutions to tackle harmful social norms.
  • Develop research report, including a set of concrete recommendations.
Duration of the research task:Starting day ASAP;

The final research report to be submitted by 15th May 2023

Budget:EUR 40K
Programme name:Masarouna
Donor:Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
Partners:RNW Media; CDS; Muntada Al-Jensaneya



Social norms are informal rules that govern behaviour in groups and societies. These are unwritten rules which define what behaviours are considered typical in a given context (descriptive norms) and what behaviours are considered proper in a context (injunctive norms). Furthermore, social norms define what attitudes and behaviours are not acceptable in a society and prescribe the “sanctions” for such cases. Social norms apply across groups and social settings, whereas group norms are specific to a particular group.

Social norms are being extensively researched from a variety of perspectives, starting with social anthropology, sociology, and psychology. It is also widely addressed by variety of programmatic models and approaches developed by global international organisations; for example, social norms are core element in Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) theories. Accordingly, there is an extensive body of evidence how social norms are shaped, as well as multiple tested and validated approaches to change harmful social norms. In addition to this, there are available tools to assess and measure changes in social norms (e.g. SNAP by CARE, Social Norms Diagnostic Tool by Oxfam, SNET by IRH, etc.). While many organisations just started recognising the importance of using digital media in connection to the offline work they do, digital dimensions and their contribution to social change when it comes to shifting social norms are not well studied. Moreover, there is a gap in proper measurement approaches and tools to track changes in social norms through digital media.  

RNW Media and its partner organisations, has multiple years of track record and accumulated expertise in developing digital media solutions to address social issues. Thus, we see this as a good niche to step in, share our expertise, synthesise our evidence accrued throughout the years and contribute to the creation of new knowledge and tools to advance the practices of using digital media for social change. 

RNW Media is an international digital media organisation, working for social change. We believe in a world in which young people (aged 15 to 30), in all their diversity, confidently claim their rights, assume their place in society and drive social change. Our mission is to accelerate the impact of changemakers by co-creating youth-centered digital media solutions built on data insights and mutual learning experiences. We reach this mission by co-creating digital and learning solutions to accelerate change in behaviour, attitudes, social norms and policies. We work with changemakers using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relevant to young people as our compass in countries where the human rights of young people are under threat. 

One of our programmes to bring social change through digital media is Masarouna. Masarouna is a Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) programme, in strategic partnership with and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2021 – 2025). Masarouna mobilises the power of young people’s collective action to support their fight for greater freedom of choice and respect for their SRHR through new and innovative pathways for change. Our target group is young people aged 18-35, with particular attention to marginalised groups. In this programme, RNW Media works together with four other consortium partners and twelve direct country partners in six countries. RNW Media focuses on co-creation and implementation of digital media solutions in SRHR through a project-based way of working with country partners. 

In the framework of Masarouna, RNW Media is planning to commission research to explore how digital media can tackle SRHR related social norms in MENA region. This research will utilise two case studies of partner organisations within Masarouna – The Center for Development Services (CDS)/Love Matters Arabic (Egypt) and Muntada Al-Jensaneya (OPT).  

The Center for Development Services (CDS) is an entrepreneurial business venture that works toward building vibrant societies and prosperous economies wherever it operates. It has offices located in Egypt, Jordan, and Greece through which they collaborate with a wide range of partners and clients to mobilize technical and financial resources for planning and undertaking development endeavours in diverse settings and countries. CDS is currently implementing two separate projects within the scope of Masarouna – Love Matters Arabic (LMA) and Masaraat, which are both digital platforms geared towards mobilising the power of young people for collective action in the MENA region in regard to their freedom of choice and respect for their SRHR. LMA is the largest digital community in Egypt and in the Arab world engaging young people around SRHR. Since its initiation in March 2014, it has attracted over 25 million users across its different platforms. By providing youth with all the needed information about their SHRH, LMA’s goal is to enable for young people to make informed decisions on their sexual life. LMA operates on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.   

Muntada Al-Jensaneya is a Palestinian non-profit organization located in Haifa. Muntada is committed to the social development of Palestinian and regional societies by addressing educational and counselling needs related to SRHR in both civic and digital spheres. Muntada Al-Jensaneya implements its activities through different mediums (online and offline), providing training, workshops and capacity-building sessions to professionals and activists. Muntada Al-Jensaneya manages digital communities and is committed to providing young people with timely and scientific-based SRHR content. Muntada Al-Jensaneya operates on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and on Muntada’s website. 


The purpose of this research is to collect and synthesise available data from RNW Media’s ongoing partnership with Love Matters Arabic and Muntada, to analyse the role of the digital media to change SRHR related social norms and provide evidence on the impact of co-created digital solutions to tackle harmful social norms and push the conversations on taboo topics among young people.

The research questions are as follows:

What social norms are the main barriers for YP to access reliable information on SRHR in MENA region?

How do the current digital media solutions co-created by RNW Media, and partner organisations reshape SRHR related social norms and to what extent does it lead to the structural changes in the society?

What type of digital content and strategies co-created by RNW Media and partner organisations, challenge SRHR related social norms most effectively and why?

What are the recommendations to (1) strengthen the impact of digital media solutions to change harmful social norms and (2) to better track and analyse social norms change through digital media?

As SRHR related social norms might include the broad range of issues, the researcher(s) are expected to define and select the SRHR related social norms to be explored in the scope of the research and based on this refine the list of research questions, in close consultation with the LMA, Muntada Al-Jensaneya and RNW Media teams.


In close consultation with RNW Media, CDS/LMA and Muntada Al-Jensaneya, the researcher(s) are expected to propose a conceptual framework for the research and develop a research methodology. At the minimum, the methodology will entail: 

  1. Desk research – analysis of the relevant reports and program related documents from CDS/LMA, Muntada Al-Jensaneya and RNW Media. As well as any other relevant research reports related to SRHR social norms from MENA region. 
  2. Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) – KIIs will be conducted with LMA, Mundata and RNW Media representatives, as well as subject experts from the field (if applicable).  
  3. Secondary data analysis – analysis of relevant available quantitative and qualitative data from LMA and Muntada platforms. Specifically, the following data sources are available from the platforms:
Muntada Al-Jensaneya Love Matters Arabic 
  • Muntada’s polls results.
  • “I have a question corner” on Muntada’s website.
  • Digital metrics from Muntada’s social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.).
  • Campaigns’ reports.

  • Forum on LMA website
  • Digital metrics from LMA’s social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.).
  • Campaign reports

The researcher(s) are encouraged to propose adaptations or add complementary methods (e.g. FGDs) to ensure that comprehensive and relevant data is collected.


The selected Researcher(s) are expected to produce the following deliverables:

Deliverable 1: Inception Report – containing proposed detailed methodology, including analytical framework to be applied for analysis, and detailed work-plan specifying activities and timelines agreed with RNW Media (2 weeks after contract is signed).

Deliverable 2: Primary data collection tools including data collection plan and ethical consideration of data collection and use (2 weeks after contract is signed).

Deliverable 3: Summary of primary and secondary data findings with reference materials/links, annexure, photos, etc. and presentation of key findings session (sense-making workshop) with RNW Media, CDS/LMA and Muntada Al-Jensaneya (8 weeks after contract is signed).

Deliverable 4: First draft research report (10 weeks after contract is signed)

Deliverable 5: Finalised research report, including a set of concrete recommendations (12 weeks after contract is signed)

The consultant shall submit all data collected through the assessment in digitalised format, including possible databases, recordings, transcripts, or summaries, which remains property of RNW Media and the partners once the research is conducted.


  • Minimum Master’s degree in the field of social or humanistic sciences.   
  • Minimum of five years’ experience in conductingqualitative and quantitative research. 
  • Minimum three years’ of progressively relevant experience in the fields of social norms research.
  • Knowledge and understanding of SRHR issues in MENA region.
  • Regional experience working in the MENA region. 
  • Experience and understanding of different aspects digital media, including digital analytic tools.
  • Very good analytical and reportingskills. Extensive experience in writing research reports in English is mandatory.
  • Strong communication skills, with the ability to communicate detailed concepts clearly and concisely both in writing andverbally.   
  • Fluency in Arabic.
  • Excellent time management and coordination skills.


Click here to go to the application form 

Interested Researcher(s) should develop and submit the proposal in English to respond to the above-mentioned specific tasks. 

The proposal should include: 

  • Description and contact details of the Researcher(s) applying; 
  • A clear description of the methodological approach, including proposal methods to be used, proposal of the conceptual framework to be applied for analysis and the timeframe of the research; 
  • CVs of all team members (Including that of subcontracted researchers and field coordinators (if relevant)), emphasising relevant experience;
  • Two reference contacts, indicating organisation/agency, position and email or phone number;
  • One non-academic research writing sample in English. 

Click here to go to the application form 

The interested applicants should submit the proposal before November 30, 2022. 

RNW Media is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.