behaviour change

We have a lot to learn...

Last week’s Water and Health Conference held at the University of North Carolina’s Water Institute had an array of different workshops, side events and oral and poster presentations focusing on sanitation. After only a day into the week-long event two important messages started to emerge. Firstly, the sanitation problem is endemic in certain parts of the world, especially India, and unfortunately we do not know a lot and have an awful lot to learn.

What Influences Open Defecation and Latrine Ownership in Rural Households?: Findings from a Global Review

The purpose of the review was to identify commonalities and differences across countries, and to determine factors that affect sanitation behaviors, positively or negatively. Three specific sanitation behaviors are covered in the review: open defecation, acquisition of toilets, and improvement of latrines.
Date: 10 October 2014

To end open defecation, make Indians want to

Over half of all Indians defecate in the open, and in rural areas, this figure is about 70 per cent. In contrast, less than 1 per cent of people in China, 4 per cent of people in Bangladesh, and about a quarter of people in Sub-Saharan Africa defecate in the open. Why is there so much more open defecation in India? Considering that open defecation in rural India causes death, disease, malnutrition and the loss of economic productivity, understanding why it is so common is an important priority.

SQUAT Research Brief No. 1: Ending open defecation requires changing minds

The SQUAT survey was a survey of Sanitation Quality, Use, Access and Trends in rural north India. From December 2013 to April 2014 over 3,200 rural households were asked about their sanitation behaviour and beliefs. Over 300 villages in 13 districts of Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh were visited by the researchers and data was collected on the defecation behaviour of 22,787 people.
Date: 8 July 2014

Challenges of behaviour change in rural north India

Despite large government and NGO programs, despite substantially increased public spending on sanitation, and despite sustained economic growth, open defecation is declining very, very slowly in rural “Hindi heartland” north India. Widespread resistance to using simple latrines in the rural north Indian plains states is a human development crisis and a serious puzzle: this is exactly the place on earth where open defecation is most common and where high population density most raises the human and economic costs of open defecation.

Date: 28 March 2014

Behaviour change in sanitation: synopsis from the 13th SanCop meeting (November 2013)

The 13th meeting of the UK’s Sanitation Community of Practice was held on Wednesday 20th November 2013 at Cranfield University. The rationale for the meeting is to draw upon DFID’s 2013 WASH evidence paper, which argues that behaviour change for hygiene and sanitation, especially at scale, is a key evidence gap in the sector. The aims of the day were as follows:

Date: 26 February 2014

No shame in a simple pit latrine

Diane Coffey

Yesterday was my last day with the team in Rewari, Haryana.  Sangita, Nikhil, Nidhi and I had finished up collecting qualitative data to try to understand latrine adoption in the last 10 years.  Thanks to our friendly respondents, many of whom were willing to have their interviews recorded, we have lots of interesting findings about latrine adoption and use, and some really fun quotations.  But the findings of the “switching study” in Haryana will have to wait for another day.


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