Improving
handwashing behaviour change programs in humanitarian crises

A software-based decision-making tool that helps humanitarian actors design rapid, evidence-based and context-specific hygiene programs

Find rapid assessment tools, learning modules and practitioner resource guides

Why Handwashing?

Handwashing with soap can reduce diarrhoeal diseases by 48% and reduce the spread of outbreak-related diseases. In the aftermath of an emergency, about 40% of all deaths are due to diarrhoea – handwashing has the potential to make a lifesaving difference.

We believe we can do handwashing behaviour change better!

At the moment, hygiene promotion in emergencies is done by distributing hygiene kits, or educating people about disease transmission. Evidence shows that these approaches alone are insufficient to change handwashing behaviour.

We provide...

Rapid formative research methods

Rapid Assessment

There are many existing needs assessment tools. However, these take time and expertise to conduct; they are generally poor at understanding actual hygiene behaviour; and it is difficult to translate the findings into context-specific program recommendations. We offer a set of rapid and easy-to-use rapid assessment tools, which are specifically designed for emergency contexts and linked to program design.

A new rapid tool for program design

A new rapid tool for program design

Existing behaviour change resources often go unread since they are typically long documents which lack details about how to contextualise recommendations.
We provide an easy-to-use, software-based decision support tool. The tool will help you design a hygiene program, identify delivery channels and develop innovative activities appropriate for your context.

How Wash’Em Works

Learning

Rapid Assessment Tools

Research

Do the Rapid Assessment Tools

Input

Input data in Wash’Em software

Decisions

Get recommendations and decision support on what to include in your design of hygiene programs

Software Availability

Wash’Em software will be free and vailable on USB stick, on the web and offline. The software is currently under development. Sign up now to get updates on the progress.

Wash'Em USB software
Wash'Em USB software

The Project Team

This initiative brings together the expertise of Action contre la Faim (ACF), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and CAWST (Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology).



ACF are at the forefront of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programming in emergencies. In 2015, they responded to 24 humanitarian crises and delivered WASH services to 8.8 million people.



The Environmental Health Group at LSHTM is a multidisciplinary team of engineers, anthropologists, social psychologists and epidemiologists. Over the last 20 years the Group has generated an extensive range of innovative and rigorous evidence about the importance of handwashing and behaviour change.



CAWST are the sector leaders in WASH related knowledge dissemination. Their capacity-development and knowledge-sharing activities reach more than 5000 organisations, and indirectly impact more than 15 million people.



What have we done so far?

  • A literature review of the determinants of handwashing behaviour
  • Interviews with representatives of the global WASH cluster and national WASH clusters
  • In-depth qualitative research in Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo to better understand the determinants of handwashing behaviour in different types of crises
  • Developed a set of rapid assessment tools and developed written and video-based guides for these

What have we learned along the way?

  • There is an increasing amount of research on handwashing, yet the quality of evidence about the factors that determine behaviour remains weak. This is particularly true of hygiene behaviour in emergencies
  • Knowledge about the link between handwashing and disease avoidance is high among crisis-affected populations, but has no impact on actual practice
  • Creating attractive, easy-to-use handwashing facilities that trigger the right behaviour at the right times is likely to have the strongest impact on handwashing
  • Programs can be designed more rapidly by focusing on the determinants, which vary most by context. In emergencies, these are likely to be risk perception, behavioural motives, physical settings (including water and soap), and role and identity shifts

Recent Updates From Our Field Work

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If crisis disrupts your life – how does your handwashing behavior change?

By Sian White | GHP

A Global Handwashing Partnership case study. If crisis disrupts your life – how does your handwashing behavior change? Understanding drivers of handwashing behavior in emergency settings

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Designing Learning and Decision Support Software: Wash’Em

By Olivier Mills

Behind the scenes of developing software-based learning and decision support tools for WASH practitioners.

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DRC Summary

By Sian White

To fulfil the first of these objectives exploratory field work was carried out in Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This report describes the work done in the DRC including an overview of activities, the research objectives and methods used and some of the key findings.

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Iraq Summary

By Sian White

To fulfil the first of these objectives exploratory field work was carried out in Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This report describes the work done in Iraq including an overview of activities, the research objectives and methods used and some of the key findings.

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Improving Handwashing in Humanitarian Crises: Methods for Researching Handwashing Practices and Behaviour

By Sian White

Working in partnership, ACF, LSHTM, and CAWST are bringing together their experience and networks to develop deep understandings of the determinants of hand hygiene in emergency settings so as to contribute to the development of rapid and effective intervention tools.

USAID
ACF
LSHTM
CAWST

Contact us at support@washem.info if you have any questions!

Wash'Em 2018. All rights reserved.

This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Wash’Em and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.