A-ha! A moment etched in my memory: 20 or so researchers were gathered in a room in Delhi. All were engaged in field research projects relevant to sanitation, health and the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission- Gramin. The SBMG campaign was huge and thought to be the largest behaviour change programme ever in the world.
It had the high-profile target of an open defecation free rural India in about two years from the time of this meeting. The Secretary responsible for leading and driving the programme came briefly to see what he could learn.
The field researchers explained that it was too early to be able to say anything definite but in a year or two they would have something for him….the Secretary’s response was stark and emphatic, ‘I don’t want to know in a year or two. I need to know now!’
In parallel and in contrast with the more conventional research reported in this Delhi meeting, the Sanitation Learning Hub at IDS, with our partners WSSCC, WaterAid India, Praxis, Delhi University and others, were working on what we called RAL (Rapid Action Learning).
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