Principal Investigators: Dr. Christoph Lüthi and Dr. Nadja Contzen (Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)
This research aims to provide scientific evidence on how to increase handwashing with soap among camp residents of the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh by increasing the functionality of handwashing devices.
The study will investigate the role of individual and collective psychological ownership of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) committees and camp residents towards public and private handwashing infrastructure for their monitoring and maintenance activities in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Provision of handwashing infrastructure is key to ensure regular handwashing in a humanitarian setting. However, the functionality of such infrastructure is not always a given. We dedicate our research on the monitoring and maintenance of handwashing infrastructure and focus on the potential influence of psychological ownership on device functionality and, in turn, handwashing frequency to improve the current COVID-19 responses in humanitarian settings.
Together with Eawag’s local partner, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), interventions will be developed to strengthen psychological ownership of handwashing infrastructure, as well as tailored checklists and guidelines for monitoring and maintenance of private and public handwashing devices. Partners and other members of the WASH cluster will use the developed materials in their COVID-19 responses in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
At a larger scale, the results will inform the discussion on improving intervention activities to increase handwashing by focusing on psychological ownership and its role for the functioning of handwashing devices.
Trained community volunteers begin carrying out door-to-door visits to build ownership for shared WASH facilities in Cox's Bazaar. So far, 12 user group meetings, 69 household visits in intervention blocks and 101 household visits in control blocks have been conducted. The volunteer research assistants are doing a great job even with COVID-19 restrictions.
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