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Improving hygiene behaviours within Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar

  • Report
  • 21st Dec 2023

Bangladesh is the site of the world’s largest settlement for forcibly displaced Rohingya nationals. Since August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya families have fled genocidal violence in Myanmar. Now, over 1,000,000 people have lived in temporary settlement camps spanning 5,800 acres. BRAC – the world’s largest NGO – is the largest responder to the Rohingya displacement crisis, managing a number of camps outside of Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh.

In 2021-22, BRAC installed thousands of handwashing stations (HWSs) across the camps. They have also rolled out in-person interventions, digital and mass media campaigns to encourage the use of these HWSs. These outreach efforts have been essential, as research suggests that the provision of soap and water alone is not sufficient to encourage people to practise handwashing with soap in a humanitarian context – the problem is behavioural.

In this project, the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) worked with BRAC’s Social Innovation Lab (SIL) to encourage handwashing with soap at public HWSs within two camps. We conducted a series of iterative prototyping cycles to develop BI-informed interventions, and implemented and tested these interventions in the field. We assessed the impact of the interventions
on HWS usage as well as implementation fidelity.

We would like to thank BRAC and the Reckitt Global Hygiene Institute (RGHI) for their funding and support in this project. We are also grateful to POKET Software Services Inc for developing a bespoke digital data collection tool for this study.

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