Handwashing Resources from WASHplus

Make it a habitOn Global Handwashing Day and every day we dedicate ourselves to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap to prevent diseases and save lives. Please see below handwashing resources developed by WASHplus on: the small doable approach to handwashing; how to make tippy taps for handwashing; making a habit of handwashing; and integrating WASH  into nutrition and HIV programs.


sda thumbnailSmall Doable Actions: A Feasible Approach to Behavior Change, Learning Brief, 2015. This brief takes a look at how WASHplus has applied the Small Doable Action approach to handwashing, water treatment, improved sanitation, menstrual hygiene management, and food hygiene.

habitHandwashing and the Science of Habit, Webinar, 2014.  This webinar emphasizes ways to apply the basic science of habit and behavior change to real world health interventions and program delivery, with a focus on behavior change for handwashing with soap.

WASH HIVIntegrating Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene into HIV Programmes: A Training and Resource Pack for Uganda, 2014. This training manual teaches the four key WASH practices: safely transporting, treating, storing, and serving drinking water; safe handling and disposal of feces; safe handling and disposal of menstrual blood; and handwashing with soap (or ash) and water.

WASH nutritionIntegrating Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene into Infant and Child Nutrition Programmes: A Training and Resource Pack for Uganda, 2014. This resource pack can  aid health workers in helping household and community members to overcome, or change, the many daily obstacles to improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices in the home.

tippy tap makingHow to Make Other Types of Tippy Taps, 2014. This pamphlet shows how to make Tippy Taps for handwashing from mineral water bottles, tin cans, and hollow tubes. The tippy tap is a hands free way to wash your hands and is especially appropriate for areas where there is no running water.

Everybody is Doing It: How Social Networks Can Increase Handwashing

This blog post first appeared on Medium here. This post is authored by Hanna Washburn (@WASH_Hanna), Deputy Secretariat Director for the Global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW). The PPPHW is a coalition of international stakeholders that aims to give families, schools, and communities in developing countries the power to prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections by supporting the universal promotion and practice of proper handwashing with soap at critical times. For more information, contact the Global Public-Private Partnership at +1 202-884-8398 or contact@globalhandwashing.org

If you were asked to describe a social network how would you respond? Would you reference Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites? Perhaps you’d list an organization you are a part of, such as a professional association. Or, you might have no idea how to describe a social network, but a vague idea that it has to do with relationships.

Which would be true.

At the most basic level, a social network is a group of actors (this could be corporations, groups, individuals, or so on) that are connected to one another in some way. We are all embedded in social networks. We are born into some, such as our families or countries. Others we choose, such as social groups. And still other social networks are dictated to us, such as social standing.

Social networks can be local or global; they can be physical and include those with whom we regularly have contact, but this might not necessarily always be the case. With disease outbreaks, these physical networks are particularly salient, as they can illuminate how illness spreads from one individual to another. Handwashing is a critical public health behavior because when people practice poor hygiene it doesn’t only impact themselves.

Rather, poor hygiene can put whole schools, communities, and regions at risk. The illnesses and diseases that can spread when people don’t wash their hands can quickly move through a whole social network or community.

As such, it takes everyone washing their hands at critical times to promote good public health.

Social networks can also be leveraged to help the vision of universal handwashing to become a reality. One way in which this occurs is through the development of social norms surrounding good hygiene. Social norms are rules that apply to certain situations. For example, a culture might have a social norm that you take your shoes off when you visit someone’s home. People abide by the rule if others do so and if the same is expected of them. These norms are created and governed by the social network. As such, instituting a norm of handwashing can be a powerful way to help make handwashing a habit.

In social networks there are some actors which are more highly regarded than others or better connected. These individuals and organizations can also play an important role in hygiene promotion as they can help to shape norms and create expectations of those in their wide social networks to adopt certain behaviors as social norms. In the fight against Ebola, for example, the Grand Imam of Guinea used his influence to promote behaviors, such as safe burial practices, that are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.

We all exist within social networks. They can influence us, but we can also use them to influence others in a positive manner.

No matter what your role is, you can be an agent of change for better health by promoting good hygiene in your social networks, and reaching out to motivate those in other social networks to turn handwashing with soap into their network’s social norm too.

Read more about social norms and handwashing here. This post was inspired by a presentation given by Erin Gamble (ACDI/VOCA) and Nicole Fernandez (Georgetown University) discussing social network analysis at a meeting of the D.C.-based Comm4Dev Community of Practice. 

Hand Washing and the Science of Habit: A Webinar

Hand Washing and the Science of Habit: A Webinar

On December 4, WASHplus and the global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) co-hosted a webinar with David Neal, Ph.D., from Catalyst Behavior Sciences and the University of Miami. Dr. Neal is a social psychologist specializing in behavior change and the advanced measurement of human decision making.  He discussed the usefulness of habit theory for health programming targeting households. Although he emphasized ways to apply the basic science of habit and behavior change to real world health interventions and program delivery, with a focus on behavior change for handwashing with soap, his ideas are relevant to anyone working on behavior change activities. The webinar was well attended by nearly 200 participants from 15 countries with more than 1,000 subsequent views. The countries included: Bhutan, Cambodia, Canada, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, and Zambia. A recording of the webinar and slides are available here.