Food for the Hungry Logo Barrier Analysis: A Tool for Improving Behavior Change Communication in Child Survival and Community Development Programs
Background Information
What is Barrier Analysis
Behavior change theory
Seeing the need
Fisherman story
Seven steps
The "Exercise" exercise
How to Conduct Barrier Analysis

Masai villagers shaking hands

  Perceived Self-Efficacy

(Is it easy to do?)

Which questions could you use to determine if this barrier kept people from taking preventive action (purifying their water)?

The following questions are examples that were used in the Dominican Republic. Your questions may vary.

First, assess knowledge of the promoted practice (behavior):

  • Do you know how to purify water using chlorine? Using iodine? Tell me how to do it.

  • Do you know how to purify water by boiling it? How?

  • Do you know other methods for purifying drinking water? Tell me how to purify water using those methods.

Then assess barriers in terms of limited time, money, or other resources:

  • What are the things that make it difficult to purify water with bleach? With iodine? By boiling it?

  • Is it easy to get chlorine bleach in this community? Iodine? Is it very expensive? Are there times when it is not available?

  • Would it be difficult for you to buy X pesos of bleach (or iodine) each month to purify your water?

  • Why do some people here NOT always purify their water?

  • If you were to buy bleach (or iodine) to purify your water, would you prefer to buy it from the Community Health Worker or from the store here? Why?

  • Be sure to assess people’s ability to do the behavior in different settings:

  • Is purified water available at other places that you go where you need a drink (e.g., in the fields)?

  • If not, do you have a way to take purified water with you?

RESULTS: This was a significant barrier. People said that it was not easy to do the preventive actions. They got their drinking water out of 55-gallon drums, filling it with a five-gallon bucket, but the promoters and MOH talked about purifying water in a gallon container (which most people did not have). They asked, "How would we purify water that is in a 55-gallon drum when we are constantly adding and removing water from it?”

They said that boiling water was out of the question, since it was far too expensive and time consuming. And they could not get pure bleach in their community or nearby. One could buy bleach in small amounts through local stores and it was not expensive, but the store owners always watered it down to make more money. They could not be sure of the strength of the bleach that they were buying, and could not afford to buy an entire one-liter bottle of bleach at one time.

There was no purified water in the fields where they cut cane, but the women did not take their youngest children to the fields, anyway. Older children would go with them, and this was a problem for them.


Example - Dominican Republic
Using Barrier Analysis
Perceived Susceptibility
Perceived Severity
Perceived Action Efficacy
Perceived Social Acceptability
Perceived Self-Efficacy
Cues for Action
Perception of Divine Will
  Negative and Positive Attributes
  Example - Kenya

Next (Cues for Action)

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© November 2004

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