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This qualitative research study aims to understand perceptions, barriers, and motivators for improved sanitation behaviour in rural India.

TitleFormative research to develop appropriate participatory approaches towards water, sanitation, and hygiene in rural areas
Publication TypeResearch Report
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsKapur, D, Ramisetty, M, Barot, N
Pagination62 p. : fig., tab.
Date Published05/2016
PublisherIndia WASH Forum
Place PublishedNew Delhi, India
Publication LanguageEnglish

This qualitative research study aims to understand perceptions, barriers, and motivators for improved sanitation behaviour in rural India. Staff of Utthan, Modern Architects for Rural India (MARI) and AiDENT Social Welfare Organization conducted the research in Gujarat, Telangana, and Jharkhand. Intensive field research was undertaken in nine villages (three villages from each state) during July to December 2015. 

The study aimed to answer the following questions:

  • Are there barriers to sanitation arising owing to lack of knowledge and ignorance about the benefits of having and using toilets or from deeper level self perception barriers of caste, class and gender?
  • Who among villagers are adopting building and using toilets and why? What are the typologies within and across the states studied?
  • At what threshold level are more people willing to adopt or change their behaviours to start building and using toilets?
  • What is the role of behaviour change communication (BCC) messaging and how is it perceived by the people? Why is it not working? What should the BCC messaging be, what it should reinforce and what it should encourage?

The main findings were:

  • no significant barriers rooted into the deeper level of self perception were found, other than in the remote tribal communities
  • the limitations of achieving a higher standard of living (not just increased cash incomes for material comforts but also education and health) perhaps restrains remote tribal communities from investing in one element of change – the toilet
  • notions of purity and cleanliness (purity is not equated as cleanliness, hence higher caste and purer people may display a poor hygiene standard) are very different in some tribal areas
  • the demand and threshold level for adoption of improved sanitation and hygiene practices was identified as an important programmatic intervention for sanitation promotion instead of relying exclusively on a zero incentive Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach.

The report includes general recommendations and detailed reports on each of the nine villages.


Citation Key82128



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