10.4 Sustainability of behaviour change
Sustainability means ‘able to last or continue for a long time’ (Merriam-Webster online dictionary). So the sustainability of a certain behaviour means that the ability of an individual to maintain that behaviour (in this case a hygiene and sanitation behaviour) for a long time. Ideally the behaviour change becomes a habit, something that is so familiar it is routinely practiced correctly, without variation and without thinking.
Behaviours are complex. Physical, social, cultural and institutional contexts shape and constrain people’s choices and options and hence their behaviour. The desire to target attitudes and behaviours using education and awareness-raising still remains strong. However, these measures tend to have little or no influence on behavioural shift if they run counter to other powerful incentives, such as prices or social norms.
Adopting a sustainable behaviour is the ultimate goal of hygiene and sanitation promotion interventions. You will learn more about sustainability in Study Session 13.