Two projects on changing handwashing behavior have recently been completed in rural and urban Zimbabwe. Both were financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC. Interestingly, the psychosocial factors steering the target behavior were nearly the same in both rural and urban contexts. Consequently, the behavior change strategies implemented were similar in both cases.
In the project recently completed in rural Zimbabwe, an increase of 30% in handwashing in key situations was observed in households. In schools, handwashing was observed to increase by 60% after toilet usage and by 45% before eating.
In the project in urban Harare, Zimbabwe, completed in 2016, an increase of 28% in handwashing before eating was observed in households; the equivalent figure for observations in schools was 30%. This project compared interventions targeting only households with others targeting only schools and a third group targeting households and schools together. The project showed that school interventions did not affect handwashing in households.