Behavioral Determinants of Handwashing with Soap in Senegal and Peru: Emergent Learning

A new Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) Learning Note found that beliefs and ease of access to soap and water were correlated with handwashing with soap behaviors for given proxy measures among mothers and caretakers in Peru and Senegal.

“Behavioral Determinants of Handwashing with Soap Among Mothers and Caretakers: Emergent Learning from Senegal and Peru,” is based on survey data from nearly 3,500 households in Peru and 1,500 households in Senegal. This data was analyzed using FOAM, a conceptual framework developed by WSP to help identify factors that might facilitate or impeded handwashing with soap practices at critical times.

The analysis revealed that the impact of different determinants varies depending on the chosen proxy measure, such as the presence of a handwashing station or its distance from kitchen or latrine facilities. Given this variability, the Learning Note found that program managers must clearly define the exact behavior they seek to improve before choosing which determinant to focus on in their formative research.

In addition to discussing the findings, the Learning Note describes the use of segmentation analysis to identify behavioral determinants and outlines specific items that were used to generate the access and belief scales.

WSP has worked with local and national governments in four countries—Peru, Senegal, Tanzania, and Vietnam—to implement the Global Scaling Up Handwashing Project, applying innovative promotional approaches to behaviour change to generate widespread, sustained improvements in handwashing with soap at scale.

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