Promoting Latrine Use in Rural India Thematic Window

3ie is pleased to announce four awards for impact evaluations of theory-driven behaviour change interventions to promote latrine use in rural India. The four teams will be conducting their impact evaluations over 12 months in four Indian states: Bihar, Gujarat, Odisha and Karnataka. These studies will conclude in early 2019.

3ie is also pleased to announce an award for an independent latrine use measurement study, to be conducted among subsets of the impact evaluation samples. The study will assess the validity of latrine use measurements and allow us to test different tools for measuring latrine use.

3ie is collaborating with the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e) on this grant programme. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided funding support for this grant programme.

Promoting latrine use in rural India

This grant programme supports the design and implementation of rapid impact evaluations of interventions aimed at increasing latrine use in rural India. 3ie support studies that apply insights from behavioural science to address supply- and/or demand-side factors influencing latrine use. The programme aims to generate a body of evidence on the design and implementation of context-specific, low-cost interventions that can be implemented and scaled-up with the resources available through the India’s national cleanliness programme, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM; the Clean India Mission) and/or any voluntary household contributions.  

Please note this grant programme is now closed for applications.To find out more about the scope of this grant window, please read the  Request for qualifications (273.5 KB)  document

The documents that were required for application to this grant window can be found here.

Closing the evidence gap on latrine use in rural India

Open defecation (OD) is a widespread and persistent health challenge and India represents the majority of the world’s open defecation. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, in 2015, over 520 million people practiced open defecation in India, with the vast majority concentrated in rural areas. Research has shown that open defecation severely increases the risk of neonatal mortality, stunting and contracting infectious diseases.

Even though latrine use has widely been cited in the mass media as a key factor for reducing OD, very few quantitative studies have focused on latrine use as a primary or secondary outcome. To address this knowledge gap in research, 3ie’s programme is investigating the multidimensional supply and demand factors influencing latrine use in order reduce open defecation.

In January 2017, 3ie awarded small grants to nine teams to develop latrine use behaviour change interventions. The teams conducted formative studies and tested small-scale pilot interventions over three months in rural areas of eight Indian states: Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

The nine formative studies concluded in April 2017. Among these nine teams, four have been awarded additional funding for implementation and impact evaluation of an intervention to promote latrine use. These impact evaluations will be carried out over a 12-month period, concluding in early 2019. The findings from these studies are expected to inform sanitation policy and programming in India.

A hallmark of this grant programme is the use of behavioural science to develop theory-driven, contextually-informed behaviour change interventions. Examples of theories and approaches used by teams include: Behaviour centred design; the risks, attitudes, norms, abilities, and self-regulation model; incentive framing; nudge theory; social norm models and modified versions of Community-Led Total Sanitation.

Publication: Scoping out evidence on latrine use in rural India

The Promoting Latrine Use in Rural India scoping paper presents the results of a field visit, two consultative workshops and a systematic search of published quantitative literature. It highlights the most frequently identified barriers to latrine use, issues with latrine use measurement, and provides evidence on the importance of latrine functionality and design for use. The authors elaborate on the paucity of rigorous and theory-driven interventions to improve latrine use and outline a path forward to addressing evidence gaps.


Read report

3ie is proud to be a partner of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). SuSanA is an open international alliance with members who share a common vision on sustainable sanitation and are dedicated to understanding viable and sustainable sanitation solutions

Photo©UNICEF & Gov. of India

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