Tag Archives: behaviour change

Nudge for good: How insights from behavioral economics can improve the world— and manipulate people

Nudge for good: How insights from behavioral economics can improve the world— and manipulate people | Source: World Bank Blog, Aug 16 2016 |

Richard H. Thaler is a world-renowned behavioral economist and professor of finance and psychology. Recently, he was interviewed by The Economist. The discussion covers some of the fundamental studies in the field, like “save more tomorrow” which encourages people to save more by signing up to increase their savings rate every year and auto-enrollment for pensions that have drastically increased employee participation in pension funds. thaler

Thaler also suggests, in the interview, that behavioral economics has the ability to influence human behavior for both good and bad.  He argues that much of what behavioral economics does is remove barriers.

The goal is not to change people but to make life easier, but that idea can be skewed by organizations or individuals looking to capitalize on the biases of people. Whenever he is asked to sign a copy of his book Nudge, he writes “nudge for good” which is a plea, he says, to improve the lives of people and avoid insidious behavior.

The list of ways companies nudge behavior is endless, and I would love to hear more examples from you all in the comments section. In the meantime here are a few- I’ll let you judge which ones “nudge for good”:

  • Waterborne diseases such as cholera cause widespread illness, especially among children, in developing countries without nation-wide water and sanitation networks. In Kenya, chlorine tablets are distributed by NGOs and other organizations, and people generally understand that the tablets disinfect their water, protecting them from disease. Nevertheless, usage rates are often low. Cost is not the barrier here, convenience is because routinely purifying water requires energy and attention. Michael Kremer of Harvard University and his colleagues found, through a series of randomized controlled trials conducted in Kenya, that providing chlorine as a concentrated liquid at prominently displayed dispensers at local water sources dramatically increase the rate of disinfection. The dispensers provided a visual reminder when and water was collected and made it easy to add the right does. Along with promotion by community members, this approach increased chlorine use by 53%. Thus, making it easier to disinfect water increased the rates at which tablets are used.

Read the complete article.

Nudging and Habit Change for Open Defecation: New Tactics from Behavioral Science

Nudging and Habit Change for Open Defecation: New Tactics from Behavioral Science, March 2016. 

Authors: David Neal, Ph.D. (Catalyst), Jelena Vujcic, M.P.H. (Catalyst), Rachel Burns Ph.D. (Catalyst), Wendy Wood, Ph.D. (University of Southern California) and Jacqueline Devine, MBA (World Bank, Water and Sanitation Program)

In this working paper, we draw on basic scientifc fndings from psychology, cognitive science, and behavioral economics to propose a framework of 8 System 1 Principles to support the initiation and maintenance of OD behavior change.

In doing so, we build from the general framework advanced in the World Bank Group’s (2015) World Development Report: Mind, Society, and Behavior, which emphasized three core insights from behavioral science, namely that people think (a) automatically, (b) socially and (c) using mental models that channel their decision-making.

 

Drivers of sustained hygiene behaviour change: A case study from mid-western Nepal

Drivers of sustained hygiene behaviour change: A case study from mid-western NepalSocial Science & Medicine, August 2016.

Authors: Celia McMichael, Priscilla Robinson

Behaviour change is central to the prevention of many population health problems, yet it is typically difficult to initiate and sustain. This paper reports on an evaluation of a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) intervention in mid-western Nepal, with particular focus on the drivers and barriers for handwashing with soap/ash and elimination of open defecation.

The research was conducted during October–November 2014, two and half years following the intervention’s end-point. Qualitative data were collected from the target community (n = 112) via group discussions, interviews and drawings/stories of ‘most significant change’. Households’ handwashing/water facilities and toilets were observed.

Analysis was informed by a model that highlights environmental, psychosocial and technological factors that shape hygiene behaviours across multiple levels, from the habitual to the structural (Dreibelbis et al. 2013). Findings indicate the intervention has supported development of new norms around hygiene behaviours.

Key drivers of sustained hygiene behaviour were habit formation, emotional drivers (e.g. disgust, affiliation), and collective action and civic pride; key constraints included water scarcity and socio-economic disadvantage. Identifying and responding to the drivers and constraints of hygiene behaviour change in specific contexts is critical to sustained behaviour change and population health impact.

Beyond hardware: how a portable sink can inspire behaviour change

Beyond hardware: how a portable sink can inspire behaviour change by Geoff Revell at WaterSHED | Source: WaterAid Blog, June 29, 2016 |

Despite having a cheap and simple fix that could prevent millions of deaths, how to encourage handwashing has puzzled WASH sector experts for years. The rate of handwashing with soap after using the toilet is still estimated to be only 16%. So how do we get people to wash their hands? Geoff Revell, Program Director at WaterAid partner NGO WaterSHED, explains how development of the HappyTap sheds light on new ways to target behaviour. 

happy-tap-645x401

Children using a Happy Tap at school in Ben Tre province, Vietnam.

Awareness campaigns have long been the mainstay of public health efforts to improve handwashing, but on their own they are typically unsuccessful. A multi-year, large-scale behaviour-change campaign in Vietnam, led by World Bank and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, put the challenge in focus. The evaluation of the campaign concluded: ‘the intervention led to an increase in knowledge’, but ‘handwashing with soap behavior in the target population has not changed substantially as a result of the intervention, and thus no health or productivity impacts are found’.

Unfortunately, there is a persistent gap between knowledge and action; after years of education and promotion, many families understand when and why to wash their hands, but still aren’t doing it. Various studies, including one from Kyrgyzstan, have shown a link between the presence of handwashing facilities and rates of handwashing, suggesting a possible causal relationship. But is having more sanitary hardware enough to get people to routinely wash their hands?

Bridging the adoption gap

It’s unlikely that any single intervention would be a silver bullet. However, although sanitary hardware might help improve rates of washing, we can go beyond the physical hardware and use facilities to reinforce and build on awareness. The HappyTap is the first such hardware designed with behaviour change front and centre. It’s a portable sink that not only delivers functionality, but also inspires change.

How can a handwashing station be more than the sum of its parts? Three crucial elements in the design and marketing help boost its success.

Read the complete article.

WASHplus: Behavior-Centered Approaches to Improve Health Outcomes, A Learning Brief

Behavior-Centered Approaches to Improve Health Outcomes, A Learning Brief, 2016. WASHplus.

This technical brief presents the WASHplus approach to behavior change applied in various country settings to imrove WASH practices and serve as the foundation of the project’s global guidance.

 

Can collective action strategies motivate behavior change to reduce open defecation in rural India?

Can collective action strategies motivate behavior change to reduce open defecation in rural India? Waterlines, April 2016.

Authors: Payal Hathi, Dean Spears, Diane Coffey. RICE Institute.

The world’s remaining open defecation is increasingly concentrated in rural India. The Indian government’s efforts to reduce open defecation by providing subsidies for latrine construction have been largely unsuccessful in addressing the problem. It is now clear that behavior change must be the priority if progress on ending open defecation is to be made.

While community-led strategies have proven effective in various developing country contexts, there are serious reasons to question whether similar methods can work in rural India.  Through both quantitative and qualitative analyses, we find that strict social hierarchies that continue to govern daily interactions in rural life today obstruct the spirit of cooperation upon which such methods rely.

Additionally, caste-based notions of purity and pollution make the simple latrines used all over the developing world unattractive to rural Indians.  In a context where people identify most closely with their caste and religious groups rather than their geographical villages, our findings suggest that a more nuanced understanding of the idea of “community” is required.  More experimentation, both with community-led and other strategies, is needed in order to effectively move from open defecation to latrine use in rural India.

Accelerating and sustaining behaviour change: New handbook launched at GSF learning event

This week, the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) and the GSF-funded ‘Fonds d’Appui pour l’Assainissement’ (FAA) in Madagascar launched a new handbook on accelerating and sustaining the end of open defecation.

The handbook was launched during the GSF Learning Event in Antananarivo, Madagascar, inaugurated by Madagascar’s Minister of Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Roland Ravatomanga.

A community celebrating the creation of their ‘model latrine’ for others to replicate during a FUM session in Madagascar. Credit: WSSCC

A community celebrating the creation of their ‘model latrine’ for others to replicate during a FUM session in Madagascar. Credit: WSSCC

The ‘Follow-up MANDONA’ (FUM) handbook is a field guide for practitioners of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) – an empowering approach for improving sanitation and hygiene through collective behaviour change, rather than external subsidies or prescription. FUM aims to systematically engage communities after they have been initially ‘triggered’ and committed to ending open defecation.

‘Mandona’ is a Malagasy word which means ‘to push’. FUM brings the entire community together for a self-analysis of their sanitation situation, which then helps them immediately create models that prevent the ingestion of faeces. The approach harnesses the power of Natural Leaders to replicate these models across the community, which includes helping those that are least able, in order to advance to ODF status. By focusing on sustainable behaviour change, FUM is also a useful tool for addressing issues surrounding ‘slippage’, which relates to returning to previous unhygienic behaviours.

FUM was developed and refined by MIARINTSOA NGO, a sub-grantee of the FAA programme. Given the success of FUM in Madagascar and elsewhere, the GSF and FAA created the FUM handbook to provide a practical guide for how CLTS practitioners can implement the approach in their own contexts.

Download ‘Follow-up MANDONA: A field guide for accelerating and sustaining open defecation free communities’ (English/French)

The weeklong global event where the handbook was launched brings together implementing partners, WASH experts, and high-level government representatives from GSF-supported programmes. These actors are exchanging ideas and sharing best practices for achieving improved sanitation and hygiene behaviour at scale.

During the launch, WSSCC Executive Director Chris Williams highlighted how FUM is engraining the sustainability of sanitation and hygiene behaviour change in Madagascar and beyond. “Once a village, or an entire commune, has reached ODF status, the story isn’t over. In fact, the work continues. This important publication documents the innovations that Madagascar has put together to systematically follow-up with villages. FUM aims to ensure that the change in attitudes and creation of convictions that my ‘sanitation problem is your sanitation problem’ – ‘or my shit is your shit’ – is dealt with as a collective community effort.”

WSSCC Executive Director holds up the Follow-up MANDONA handbook at GSF Learning Event opening ceremony. Credit: WSSCC/Okechukwu Umelo

WSSCC Executive Director holds up the Follow-up MANDONA handbook at GSF Learning Event opening ceremony. Credit: WSSCC/Okechukwu Umelo

FUM has become one of FAA’s most important tools for empowering over 1.6 million people to live in open defecation free environments on their own terms. Due to its success in Madagascar, FUM has recently become a core strategy for national sanitation and hygiene programmes in Uganda, Nigeria, Benin, and Togo.

Community members in Nigeria agreeing to trigger their neighbours and help those who don’t have the means to build their own latrine. Credit: WSSCC

Community members in Nigeria agreeing to trigger their neighbours and help those who don’t have the means to build their own latrine. Credit: WSSCC

Kamal Kar, the Chairman of the CLTS Foundation, which has extensively supported the FAA programme to develop their CLTS approach, emphasized the importance of the handbook in sharing proven approaches to practitioners around the world: “I am glad that the Malagasy NGO, MIARINTSOA, with the help of the FAA programme, WSSCC and the GSF, has systematically documented their experience of post-triggering follow-up from their implementation of CLTS over the last 4-5 years. Publication of this Follow-up MANDONA handbook is indeed a step forward towards country-wide scaling up of good practice of CLTS in Madagascar and beyond.”

Eugène-De-Ligori-Rasamoelina,-Executive-Director-of-MIARINTSOA-NGO,-which-developed-and-refined-Follow-up-MANDONA---WSSCC

Eugène De Ligori Rasamoelina, Executive Director of MIARINTSOA NGO, which developed and refined Follow-up MANDONA. Credit: WSSCC

“I must say that the emergence of thousands of ODF villages in Madagascar, starting with my multiple support visits to the country since 2010 to strengthen the approach, is a brilliant example of quality CLTS implementation with its central philosophy of local empowerment. I believe that this handbook will be useful in understanding and ensuring post-triggering follow-up in CLTS for sustained behaviour change.”

Find out more about the Global Sanitation Fund on the WSSCC website.