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Analysis of behavioral change techniques in CLTS programs

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The lack of sanitation facilitates the spread of diarrheal diseases - a leading cause of child deaths worldwide. As of 2012, an estimated 1 billion people still practiced open defecation (OD). To address this issue, one behavioral change approach used is community-led total sanitation (CLTS). It is now applied in an estimated 66 countries worldwide, and many countries have adopted this approach as their main strategy for scaling up rural sanitation coverage. While it appears that many of the activities used in CLTS - that target community-level changes in sanitation behaviors instead of household-level changes - have evolved out of existing behavior change frameworks and techniques, it is less clear how these activities are adapted by different organizations and applied in different country contexts. The aims of this study are to (i) show which behavior change frameworks and techniques are the most common in CLTS interventions; (ii) describe how activities are implemented in CLTS interventions by region and context; and (3) determine which activities program implementers considered the most valuable in achieving open defecation free (ODF) status and sustaining it. The results indicate that a wide range of activities are conducted across the different programs and often go beyond standard CLTS activities. CLTS practitioners ranked follow-up and monitoring activities as the most important activities for achieving an ODF community, yet only 1 of 10 organizations conducted monitoring and follow-up throughout their project. Empirical studies are needed to determine which specific behavioral change activities are most effective at ending OD and sustaining it.

This research paper by Rachel Sigler, Lyana Mahmoudi and Jay Paul Graham first appeared in Health Promotion International, Vol. 30 No. 1, 10 September 2014.

Date: 13 December 2016