This morning, Josh Lee (Urban Affairs and Planning graduate) successfully defended his capstone project focused on creating “A Behavior Change Framework for Handwashing With Soap.” A unique aspect of Josh’s research is that his final capstone report will be given to the Uganda Village Project (UVP) to provide the organization with a framework for developing a handwashing program.
One of the greatest challenges to improving hygiene in poor and undeveloped areas is changing the behavior of the target population. Behavior is informed by the interactions between the body, brain, and surrounding environment. However, most interventions and project designs tend to target one of these aspects while failing to address all three in a comprehensive manner. This report aims to familiarize Uganda Village Project (UVP) with the latest findings in handwashing with soap (HWWS). In addition, the report explores three behavior change frameworks that help identify critical factors that influence behavior. Lastly, the report provides a behavior change framework that could be used by UVP to create a new handwashing intervention in Iganga. The report emphasizes the importance of social norms, environmental cues, and habit formation on behavior change. The recommended behavior change framework incorporates these elements to expand the traditional approach to changing handwashing behaviors. The hope is that this framework will enable UVP to identify the most critical factors (psychological, social, and environmental) that influence handwashing with soap behavior in Iganga, Uganda.
This September, Josh will be traveling to Senegal to start a two-year Peace Corps placement.
I served at the chair of Josh’s capstone committee, along with committee members Max Stephenson and Kerry Redican.