• Active community involvement: The importance of drinking water and hygiene is discussed at community meetings.
  • Street theater is entertaining and very popular in Kenya - important messages about water and health can be conveyed emotionally at the same time.
  • Local health workers are important ambassadors for clean drinking water and hygiene - this is CHV training north of Nairobi.
  • As soon as training sessions are finished, the CHVs go door-to-door explaining the link between drinking water, hygiene, and health.
  • Teachers and students are important multipliers. An experimentation set helps teachers demonstrate important concepts and stimulates active lessons.
  • Siemens Stiftung supports schools in constructing hand washing stations. The Matunda Primary School began operating a new station in April 2017.

In Kenya, around 17 million people still lack access to clean drinking water. To change this, Siemens Stiftung is working with Safe Water Enterprise and Water Energy Hubs on an approach that leads to a sustainable supply of drinking water, particularly in rural regions. Consuming contaminated water and a lack of proper hygiene practices remain the main causes of diarrhea, which is particularly dangerous or even deadly for children under five. Routine hand-washing with soap can reduce the risk of disease by 50 percent.

In many cases, the link between the drinking water, hygienic behavior, and a person's own health are not fully understood. Many people simply don't know what is so bad about getting water from the river, as their ancestors did before them. Why pay for water that has always been free?

Siemens Stiftung relies on practice-oriented teaching in schools, and social marketing aimed directly at members of the community.

Practical lessons in schools

Hygiene training in schools is built around an experimentation set, which uses easy experiments to answer simple questions: How does contaminated water affect our health? How does water become contaminated? How can contaminated water be turned into clean drinking water? By trying things out and observing visible effects, lessons are easier to grasp and comprehend. Teachers and students are often good multipliers for quickly spreading the newfound understanding about water, hygiene, and health throughout communities. Adults who learn proper hygiene practices as children are also more likely to continue this behavior.

Customers, not beneficiaries: The success factor of social marketing 

Regular home visits, street theater, and an annual calendar for regular customers: social marketing uses the tools of classic marketing to build trust and provide detailed information. Health volunteers, who are present in nearly every community, play an important role in this regard. On a voluntary basis, they care for expectant mothers, children, and sick people, and advise in health matters. As ambassadors for clean drinking water and proper hygiene, they go door-to-door with tips and information for residents: why water canisters should be closed, for example, or why it is important to first wash hands and then all ingredients before eating. Youth groups rehearse plays that address hygiene in emotional stories that touch on real life. This traditional method of storytelling ensures that larger crowds quickly assemble at these performances.

The RANAS model

Siemens Stiftung’s efforts toward education and social marketing build upon the findings of an interdisciplinary research team from Switzerland’s EAWAG, a research institute for water supply, waste water treatment, and water conservation at the science and technology university ETH Zurich. The research focused on social, physical, and personal factors that are decisive for behavioral change.

Risk: People need to be clear about the health risks of waterborne diseases associated with drinking contaminated water.

Attitude: For a change in behavior to occur, a person's attitude about clean water needs to be considered. This refers to the cost of filtering the water, and the effort associated with buying it.

Norms: This is about social norms that can affect an individual's drinking water habits. If clean drinking water has already gained acceptance in the community, others will probably join.

Ability: Careful examination is needed to determine the number of people in a community, if any, who can pay for clean drinking water.

Self-regulation: This addresses the question of whether people consider it important to purchase clean water at a kiosk. They should be aware of the source of their drinking water.

An overview of the RANAS model