Open defecation is not simply a problem of lack of adequate facilities or proper management; it is also a deeply rooted habit, which begs the question – how are habits formed and sustained? Some people like going outside in the open and find it to be ‘cleaner’ than using a toilet facility. People may also not be aware of the magnitude of harmful side effects of open defecation, or underestimate the probability that those harmful effects could ever personally impact them or the people they care about. Sanitation behavior is very complex, especially in the Indian context, and understanding how to encourage people to change their behavior and use toilets regularly is the key to making sure that communities are truly ‘Open Defecation Free’.
Using the randomized control trial methodology, Project Sammaan tested different behavior change encouragement strategies to see if they had any impact on increasing community toilet usage and reducing open defecation.
- Demand generation – Community Led Total Sanitation for urban contexts
- Visual cues to use the toilet
- Non-financial rewards
- Short-term discounts on user fees
These interventions are explained in more detail in this section, along with a description of the impact evaluation study and results from our research.