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Responding to COVID-19 in the Tongogara refugee camp

UNHCR, World Vision, and RANAS Ltd. came together in April 2020 to design a theory-driven and evidence-based behaviour change intervention aiming to increase handwashing with soap (HWWS) and physical distancing among Tongogara Refugee Camp (Zimbabwe) residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We used the RANAS model to design and evaluate a behavior change campaign.


The RANAS behavior change strategies significantly increased:

  • physical distancing by 16.1% as compared to 4.7% increase in households that received a standard campaign.

  • tippy tap construction by the participants. Functioning tippy taps were observed in 78% of campaign households as compared to 7% in households that received a standard campaign.

  • self-reported handwashing with soap after contact with faeces and after coming back home was 10% higher in the RANAS campaign households.

The results show that the RANAS approach worked in the challenging setting of a refugee camp during the ongoing pandemic. The RANAS behavior change strategies added substantial impact on top of the ongoing intensive promotion of handwashing with soap and physical distancing in the camp.



The RANAS approach of this project in more detail:

  1. We conducted a qualitative study to identify potential behavioural and contextual factors associated with our target behaviours (physical distancing and handwashing with soap).

  2. We used the qualitative insights to develop and adapt a quantitative survey that measured behavioural determinants associated with our target behaviours.

  3. Based on these findings, we decided our intervention should position handwashing with soap and physical distancing as a social norm and strengthen the population’s self-regulation.

  4. We used a before-after controlled design to compare changes in handwashing and physical distancing of individuals who had received the RANAS campaign to individuals who had received only standard information through mass media and other sources.

More information at the Hygiene Hub.


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