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Mobile Phone-Based Hygiene and Sanitation Promotion in Somalia

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Somalia continues to experience one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world and is one of the most restrictive and insecure environments for humanitarian actors. There is little evidence to show that approaches conventionally used in humanitarian settings, focused on the delivery of hygiene items and mass communication of messages, have resulted in consistent behaviour change. At the same time, approaches such as PHAST, traditionally used in development settings, have been difficult to implement because they rely on stable and secure conditions for hygiene promoters to undertake face-to-face sessions over a period of time. Flexible and innovative use of technology is one way to increase the coverage and impact of critical hygiene and sanitation interventions. Mobile phone use is very high in Somalia: more than 72% of adults in Somalia say they own a mobile phone and Oxfam GB estimates that each phone is regularly shared with up to 10 other people. The popularity of mobile phones is related to a strong culture of communicating news and because phones are used for receiving remittances from the diaspora. This high demand, combined with a strong business culture, has allowed private telecom service providers to thrive. This Field Note describes the m-WASH programme, implemented by UNICEF and Oxfam GB, using innovative mobile phone applications to increase the delivery and quality of hygiene and sanitation promotion in communities affected by polio as well as cholera in Mogadishu.

Download this UNICEF WASH Field Note

This note is part of UNICEF’s Sanitation and Hygiene Learning Series which is being developed in collaboration with UNICEF Country Offices.

Date: 2 August 2016