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Triggering sanitation demand

Published on: 13/10/2012

Factors which trigger households to build and use toilets can be quite different from the messages that promoters spread.

Factors which trigger households to build and use toilets can be quite different from the messages that promoters spread, as discussed in Motivating better hygiene behaviour. When developing a promotion programme, implementers must go beyond the Knowledge-Attitude-Practices (KAP) studies which are based on what the agencies think that people should know, think and do. It is especially important to find out what makes local women and men support Open Defecation Free (ODF) and toilet use, and what keeps them from doing so.

Motivating reasons can e.g. be for women a greater convenience and more privacy, for men a higher status and protection of their females, for local leaders an ODF status, for politicians the votes from those demanding sanitation (usually women). In the Total Sanitation Campaign in India, three top triggers were safety for women and adolescent girls, peer pressure from influential local persons and privacy for defecation.

In Andhra Pradesh in India it was the concern for daughters and elderly relatives. Men are especially open to arguments related to their responsibilities for the family’s well-being, especially for wives and daughters. The film Lets-Make-it-Right developed by WASTE shows a number of gender-specific triggers in South India.

A case study in central Vietnam showed for example that the main constraint for poor households was not money, although that was the initially the reason given. The real constraint was the lack of good information on mechanisms for cost reduction and financing. Formative research on what triggers and impedes those changes is therefore important, an example is the handwashing study in Vietnam.

Links to materials referred to in the article providing more background information:

  • Motivating better hygiene behaviour
  • Implementers must go beyond the Knowledge-Attitude-Practices (KAP) studies which are based on what the agencies think that people should know, think and do.
  • In the Total Sanitation Campaign in India, three top triggers were safety, peer pressure and privacy
  • Motivating reasons can e.g. be concern for daughters and elderly relatives.
  • Men are especially open to arguments related to their responsibilities for the family’s well-being, especially for wives and daughters.
  • The film Lets-Make-it-Right developed by WASTE shows a number of gender-specific triggers in South India (link below).
  • A case study in central Vietnam showed for example that the main constraint for poor households was not money.
  • Formative research on what triggers and impedes those changes is therefore important, an example is the handwashing study in Vietnam.

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