How can we better understand sanitation behaviors to promote behavior change?

Focus on Opportunity, Ability, and Motivation (SaniFOAM)

What is it and how can it help? 

FOAM is a social cognition behavior change framework that can be used to guide and monitor behavior change in handwashing, sanitation, or other behaviors. It was originally developed in 2007 as part of the Bank’s Global Scaling Up Handwashing Project, a behavior change program in four countries. The FOAM framework is fundamentally about understanding factors that influence  an individual’s opportunity, ability and motivation to perform a particular behavior. Though FOAM was developed for handwashing, it can be adapted to understand other behaviors such as sanitation (SaniFOAM). FOAM allows the project team to formulate a theory of change for the behavior change process. It allows teams to make explicit hypotheses about what it will take to change a given behavior among a given population.

When does it work best? 
  • Foam is useful for providing teams with a common conceptual framework.
  • It works best when applied to understanding the determinants of behavior in a systemic way in order to better design and monitor a behavior change intervention.
How do I use it? 

FOAM’s framework requires users to work through four main questions:

  • Focus: Who is the target audience and what is the desired behavior?
  • Opportunity: Does the individual have the resources to perform a behavior?
  • Ability: Is the individual capable of performing the target behavior?
  • Motivation: Does the individual want to perform the behavior?
Where has it been used? 
  • FOAM was applied in WSP’s Global Scaling Up Handwashing Project in Peru, Senegal, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
  • WSP applies SaniFOAM in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Niger, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam, Ethiopia and India.
  • FOAM has been adapted and adopted by other organizations  such as to inform behavior change components to support adopted of clean cookstoves.
What are its limitations? 

Some sort of formative research or prior research is needed in order to identify what factors are likely to be relevant for the particular behavior and population