Behaviour centred design
for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
The South Asia WASH Results Programme (SAWRP) is Plan International UK’s flagship water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme.
From 2014 to 2018, SAWRP worked in poor rural areas of Bangladesh and Pakistan to improve access to and use of improved water, sanitation and hygiene. In 2017, the programme was extended to reach an additional 650,000 people in rural Bangladesh by 2021.
It is one of three Payment by Results programmes within DFID’s WASH Results Programme and is being delivered by a consortium led by Plan International UK, with WaterAid and Plan International, and Ipsos MORI and Loughborough University’s Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) as service providers.
SAWRP II is made up of an outputs phase to reach beneficiaries, followed by an outcomes phase over which we must sustain the output results.
With our results scrutinised by external verifiers, the challenge to achieve set outcomes has encouraged us to interrogate our ways of working. As a result, we’re changing the way we approach behaviour change.
Our approach to behaviour change
To achieve WASH outcomes – and ultimately sustainability – we need to change behaviours, particularly around water collection and storage, defecation, and hand washing with soap.
To change behaviours, we must understand what determines people’s behaviour and what the motivational drivers and barriers to changing their behaviour are. We should not focus only on knowledge and attitudes, unless we have evidence that these are the key barriers.
We also have to understand the context, practices, priorities and best ways to reach the target population. Our behaviour change programme therefore needs to incorporate a period of planning, formative research and creative design.
Findings from this will allow the development of an appropriate, attractive, and engaging behaviour change package (including activities, materials and key motivational messages) developed through a creative process that is rooted in evidence rather than assumption.
There are several behaviour change frameworks that are relevant for the WASH sector, including:
SAWRP II is adopting Behaviour Centred Design and its five-step process (Assess; Build; Create; Deliver; Evaluate), largely because of the availability of tools and resources being developed by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and WaterAid, which support practitioners to design, implement and evaluate a structured behaviour change programme.
Making things simple is a fundamental premise of behaviour change and this applies to implementers as well as beneficiaries!
SAWRP has completed the research for and design of a new package of activities and resources. These are now in use and we’re monitoring their implementation carefully – both to see if they generate the desired changes in behaviour, and to make sure that they are practical and cost-effective for staff to use.
Want more information?
We are committed to sharing our process, tools, resources and learning – as well as the full package of programme sessions we develop – for use, feedback and adaptation by others.
Please check back again soon for the next update but in the meantime, here are some useful resources for you to enjoy:
- Plan International UK’s Learning Brief gives an overview of the process and insights gained from Formative Research on Menstrual Hygiene Management in Bangladesh
- Short videos of the SuperAma Trial in India and the Ideal Mother Trial in Nepal give an overview of two BCD programmes
- For general behaviour change guidance, www.behaviourchange.net is a useful starting point
- Designing for Behaviour Change (DBC): Agriculture, Natural Resource Management and Gender; Behaviour Change Toolkit
Please contact Mimi Coultas (WASH Programme Specialist) for more information on SAWRP II’s behaviour change resources and learning.
Our highlights from the South Asia WASH Results Programme and beyond.
Highlights from the WEDC Conference.
Our reflections from the 2018 International Social and Behaviour Change Communication Summit.
Updates from WEDC from our WASH Programme Specialist, Mimi Coutlas.