Sanitation and hygiene are very much about behavior. RWSSP-WN II is sharpening its approach by making our behavior change programme more systematic and based on science. From May 17 to 20, 2017, RWSSP-WN held a behavior change course to introduce our staff and partners to new behavior change insights and approaches. Over the past two decades, behavioral scientists have gained important new insights into why we behave in the ways we do and what it is that influences our behavior. Their insights are gradually and radically transforming the way we think about behavior and how we go about behavior change, including within the field of WASH.
The four-day course focused on two novel approaches within WASH: a) the RANAS model for behavior change and b) nudging for habit change (Mosler & Contzen, 2016; Neal et al, 2016; Neal et al, 2015). Twenty-five staff members, government partners, and staff members from the Rural Village Water Resources Management Project (RVWRMP) participated in the course.
Days 1-3: RANAS Model of Behavior Change
The RANAS model was developed by Professor Hans-Joachim Mosler at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. At the heart of RANAS is the idea that psychosocial factors steer our behavior. The model lays out eighteen psychosocial factors that may influence behaviour and organizes them into five factor categories: risk, attitudes, norms, ability, and self-regulation (see figure 1). For example, our use of a toilet might be influenced by what we see or perceive others around us to be doing (this RANAS factor is called Others’ behavior). Another central idea is that specific behavior change techniques (BCT) can and should be used to influence specific psychosocial factors (see figure 1).
Figure 1 RANAS model of behavior change. The blue column contains behavior steering factors. The purple boxes show types of behavior change techniques (BCT) with arrows pointing to the types of behavior steering each BCT type can best be used to address.
The RANAS model lays out a structured four-phase process for how to 1) identify the behavior steering factors by comparing Doers and Non-doers of a desired behavior, 2) find the most appropriate BTCs, 3) design behavior change strategies, and 4) measure change.
The course covered the first three of the four phases. The participants were divided into four groups and each group chose a focal behavior. The behaviors chosen were:
Use of diapers for children under two years of age
Boiling of drinking water
Use of latrine
Handwashing with soap before preparing food
Each group worked to identify the behavior steering factors, BCTs, and design behavior change strategies for their focal behavior through a series of activities. The activities allowed the participants to put their new knowledge to immediate use and reflect on WASH and behavior change in a new way. There were lively discussions and a lot of lessons learned along the way.