Hurrah for hygiene! Practitioners attend workshop in Bangladesh

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In February 2010, hygiene practitioners and researchers in Asia came to together to share lessons learned, and discuss progress and challenges in promoting hygienic behaviours. The workshop was organised by BRAC, WaterAid, IRC and WSSCC.

A substantial challenge—and the red thread through this exciting meeting—was how to move from knowledge to sustained practice, at scale. Reaching this goal requires intensive hygiene promotion, focus on enabling factors, sufficient time, well-tested communication and flexibility. Hygiene needs sustained attention, participants heard.

Much learning took place during the workshop. For instance, participants agreed on the importance of hygiene promotion designed specifically for men. Many participants committed themselves to do something about menstrual hygiene promotion. Those involved in school programmes agreed that a major challenge is sustaining the effectiveness of school programmes. More attention is needed for the quality of communication and hygiene messages, while for monitoring and research, it was agreed that self-reporting – when people report on their own hygiene practices—provides very optimistic data. Other valid and convenient tools to measure behaviour need to be tested and implemented, particularly at scale. Measuring behavioural change was considered more practical at this level than the notoriously difficult health impact studies.

WSSCC is compiling the papers and will publish them in a volume in the near future, informing members at that time of their availability. For more information on the workshop, contact Carolien van der Voorden at [email protected].