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Submitted by Jacqueline Devine on

The importance of going beyond awareness-raising and traditional top-down information, education and communication (IEC) approaches is critical as you mention, David. Knowledge is just one of many factors that influence behavior and improving knowledge is often necessarily but rarely sufficient. At the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank, we certainly have encountered this knowledge-behavior gap in our efforts to bolster hand washing with soap rates for example. For this reason, having a more comprehensive theory of change can help. We use a behavior change framework called FOAM which recognizes three categories of factors depending on whether they influence the Opportunity, Ability or Motivation of a particular population to perform or engage in a given behavior. See Formative research (such as through surveys or focus group discussions) can help identify the factors at play and findings can inform a behavior change intervention. Regardless of the framework used, it is crucial to remember that behavior change is a process, and not an event. There is unfortunately no silver bullet.