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Published on: 30/05/2018

Hygiene behaviours are one of the most effective ways to improve outcomes in health, education, and more. To achieve these health and development benefits, hygiene behaviours must be practised and promoted on a large scale, beyond the life of a project or campaign. Handwashing behaviour change operates within complex systems, often in WASH, health, or education. A discussion hosted by the Global Handwashing Partnership and IRC on 9 May 2018 explored how handwashing behaviour change efforts can work within existing systems to achieve behaviour change at scale.

Lauren Yamagata, US Partnerships Support at IRC, introduced the WASH Systems Building Blocks. The WASH Systems capture the complex socio-technical system surrounding WASH behaviors, services, and governance; and Lauren's presentation explored the role of hygiene within the WASH system.

Megan Williams, Manager of Behavior Change at Splash, presented on hygiene promotion through school systems. Her presentation, Exploring schools as the catalyst to broader change, prompted participants to consider how the education system can catalyze improved hygiene behaviors both in the school and in the community.

Dr. Om Prasad Gautam, Technical Support Manager for Hygiene at WaterAid UK, described a national hygiene promotion program delivered through the health system in Nepal. His presentation, Hygiene promotion through routine immunization: an innovation as scale, captured the policy, financing, and workforce consideration for a sustainable hygiene promotion program.

Following these short presentations, all participants engaged in an active discussion focused on lessons learned across systems, barriers to taking a systems approach in hygiene promotion, and recommendations from participants. The discussion was moderated by Elynn Walter, International Advocacy and Lead for US Partnerships at IRC, and Carolyn Moore, Secretariat Director at the Global Handwashing Partnership.

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