Promoting Latrine Use in Rural India Thematic Window

3ie is pleased to announce four awards for impact evaluations of theory-driven behavior change interventions to promote latrine use in rural India. The four teams will be conducting their impact evaluations over 12 months in four Indian states: Bihar, Gujarat, Odisha and Karnataka. These studies will conclude in early 2019.

3ie has also commissioned an independent latrine use measurement study that will be carried out amongst a subset of households in the impact evaluation project areas in four states. The study is being carried out by the Institute for Financial Management and Research and involves using two different survey instruments for measuring latrine use. It aims to generate insights on the validity of latrine use measurements and the measures that could be undertaken to improve accuracy and reduce bias.

3ie is collaborating with the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e) on this grant programme. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided funding support for this programme.


Compilation of questions on latrine use in India
To help researchers working to better understand the prevalence of open defecation practices in developing country contexts, and to aid evaluations focused on latrine use, 3ie is actively compiling  latrine use questions across key national surveys and studies in India. This collection, in its current form, includes household survey questions on defecation behaviour and the safe disposal of child faeces. In the long term, we hopes this will inform standardised questions for measurement.

Download 3ie compilation latrine use questions October 2018 (28.9 KB)

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About this programme

This evidence programme supports the design and implementation of rapid impact evaluations of interventions aimed at increasing latrine use in rural India. 3ie supports studies that apply insights from behavioural science to address supply- and/or demand-side factors influencing latrine use. The programme aims to generate a body of evidence on the design and implementation of context-specific, low-cost interventions that can be implemented and scaled-up with the resources available through the India’s national cleanliness programme, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM; the Clean India Mission) and/or any voluntary household contributions. 

Please note this grant programme is now closed for applications. To find out more about the scope of this grant programme, please read the Request for qualifications (273.5 KB) document

The documents that were required for application to this grant window can be found here.

New video: Using behavioural science to promote latrine use

3ie-supported impact evaluations

Vaparshun: a cluster randomised controlled trial in Gujarat, India

This impact evaluation will generate evidence on the effectiveness of Vaparshun, a scientifically designed programme based on the theory and process of the behaviour-centred design framework. The study aims to assess how toilet use behaviours can be changed by addressing the key drivers of toilet use through this programme.

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Promoting latrine use in Karnataka, India using the Risks, Attitudes, Norms, Abilities and Self-regulation approach to behaviour change

This mixed method study will evaluate the impact of a behaviour change intervention using the risks, attitudes, norms, abilities and self-regulation (RANAS) approach for improving latrine use in the context of India’s sanitation campaign.

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Impact evaluation of a behaviourally informed intervention to improve toilet use in rural Bihar, India 

This study will evaluate the impact of an intervention for increasing the intent and use of latrines amongst toilet-owning households in the Jamui, Khagaria, Madhepura, Naalanda, Nawada, Saharsa districts of rural Bihar, India.

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Implementing and evaluating low-cost interventions to improve latrine use among rural households in Odisha, India 

This evaluation study aims to assess whether a multi-level community intervention can increase latrine use in communities that received the intervention compared to those that did not.

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Open defecation (OD) is a widespread and persistent health challenge and India represents the majority of the world’s open defecation. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, in 2015, over 520 million people practiced open defecation in India, with the vast majority concentrated in rural areas. Research has shown that open defecation severely increases the risk of neonatal mortality, stunting and contracting infectious diseases.

Even though latrine use has widely been cited in the mass media as a key factor for reducing OD, very few quantitative studies have focused on latrine use as a primary or secondary outcome. To address this knowledge gap in research, 3ie’s programme is investigating the multidimensional supply and demand factors influencing latrine use in order reduce open defecation.

In January 2017, 3ie awarded small grants to nine teams to develop latrine use behaviour change interventions. The teams conducted formative studies and tested small-scale pilot interventions over three months in rural areas of eight Indian states: Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

The nine formative studies concluded in April 2017. Among these nine teams, four have been awarded additional funding for implementation and impact evaluation of an intervention to promote latrine use. These impact evaluations will be carried out over a 12-month period, concluding in early 2019. The findings from these studies are expected to inform sanitation policy and programming in India.

A hallmark of this grant programme is the use of behavioural science to develop theory-driven, contextually-informed behaviour change interventions. Examples of theories and approaches used by teams include: Behaviour centred design; the risks, attitudes, norms, abilities, and self-regulation model; incentive framing; nudge theory; social norm models and modified versions of Community-Led Total Sanitation.

Other related products

Publication: Scoping out evidence on latrine use in rural India

The Promoting Latrine Use in Rural India scoping paper presents the results of a field visit, two consultative workshops and a systematic search of published quantitative literature. It highlights the most frequently 1 barriers to latrine use, issues with latrine use measurement, and provides evidence on the importance of latrine functionality and design for use. The authors elaborate on the paucity of rigorous and theory-driven interventions to improve latrine use and outline a path forward to addressing evidence gaps. 


3ie is proud to be a partner of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). SuSanA is an open international alliance with members who share a common vision on sustainable sanitation and are dedicated to understanding viable and sustainable sanitation solutions


©UNICEF & Gov. of India
© Maria Laura, Kavita Chauhan, Maria Laura, Kavita Chauhan

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