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The Global Handwashing Partnership

Webinar summary: Systems approaches to hygiene behavior change – lessons across WASH, health, and education

June 1, 2018

On May 9th at 10 am ET, the Global Handwashing Partnership and IRC hosted a discussion focused on ways to use existing systems to improve scale and sustainability of hygiene promotion efforts.

Hygiene behaviors are one of the most effective ways to improve outcomes in health, education, and more. To achieve these health and development benefits, hygiene behaviors must be practiced and promoted on a large scale, beyond the life of a project or campaign. Handwashing behavior change operates within complex systems, often in WASH, health, or education. This discussion explored how handwashing behavior change efforts can work within existing systems to achieve behavior change at scale.

Lauren Yamagata, US Partnerships Support at IRC, introduced the WASH Systems Building Blocks. The WASH Systems capture the complex socio-technical system surrounding WASH behaviors, services, and governance; and Lauren’s presentation explored the role of hygiene within the WASH system.

Megan Williams, Manager of Behavior Change at Splash, presented on hygiene promotion through school systems. Her presentation, Exploring schools as the catalyst to broader change, prompted participants to consider how the education system can catalyze improved hygiene behaviors both in the school and in the community.

Dr. Om Prasad Gautam, Technical Support Manager for Hygiene at WaterAid UK, described a national hygiene promotion program delivered through the health system in Nepal. His presentation, Hygiene promotion through routine immunization: an innovation at scale, captured the policy, financing, and workforce consideration for a sustainable hygiene promotion program.

Following these short presentations, all participants engaged in an active discussion focused on lessons learned across systems, barriers to taking a systems approach in hygiene promotion, and recommendations from participants. The discussion was moderated by Elynn Walter, International Advocacy and Lead for US Partnerships at IRC, and Carolyn Moore, Secretariat Director at the Global Handwashing Partnership. A recording of the webinar is available here.

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