Let’s say that you find out, through qualitative methods,
that diarrhea is a problem in most of your project communities,
and that some mothers know how to make ORS and others do not. You
have not quantified the problem yet, but you know that it is probably
a problem from focus groups and key informant interviews with health
workers and others in the community. (Since there are so few people
who are in your focus groups and you do not select the participants
randomly, you cannot be sure if you are getting a true picture of
what is happening. But at least you know what to look for and measure
and what terms to use when asking about it.) At this point, you
do a KPC survey and find that:
- 40% of children had diarrhea in the past two weeks
- 5% of mothers of children are purifying their water, almost
all of them by boiling water
- 80% of mothers say that they know how to purify water using
bleach, but only 5% of them are using bleach to purify their water
Why don’t these mothers use bleach
if they know how to use it for purification?
You do not know: How would you? The KPC survey will not answer
this why question, and quantitative methods are usually not the
best way to answer these why questions. You may have some “pet
theories” and anecdotal evidence, but that is not good enough
for program planning.
Let’s say that you saw bleach in
most stores when you visited the communities, so you know that people
have access to bleach. Would you begin promoting the use of bleach
to purify water at this point?
No. You would need to first determine why people are not using
bleach. Repeating over and over that people should chlorinate their
water most likely will fail to bring about a change. People often
have very good reasons for doing the things they do! You need to
understand the situation from their point of view.
We will discuss a method for looking into these “barriers”
to action and for finding positive attributes of behaviors that
you are promoting in your work. This will be a short lesson in behavior
change. In the next session we will examine a story that may help
us to better understand some of the barriers that keep people from
doing what they know they should do.
Next (Fisherman story)