This blog is part of the series "Small changes, big impacts: applying #behavioralscience into development".
While Latin America is rich in water, people’s ability to access safe, reliable water supply remains elusive in most countries. Worse, most countries and major cities in the region will face economic water scarcity in less than a decade. Strategies to manage water scarcity vary, from investing in water recycling facilities to changing consumer behavior.
The most common ways to change consumer behavior are to increase the price or conduct communication campaigns to encourage conservation. Neither solution, however, is guaranteed to succeed. In some cases, they even backfire. Increasing price, for example, can upset citizens who currently pay little for poor quality water. Likewise, if done poorly, communication campaigns can cause panic and increase consumption and water stockpiling, something Bogota faced in 1997 when a tunnel providing water to the city collapsed and caused water shortages.
By the time this blog pops up on your Twitter feed, mobile device or desktop, you will probably have heard seen or heard #integration, far too many times, presented as a strategy for economic renewal.
But before you hit ‘delete’ by my bringing up ‘integration’ yet again, bear with me.
Granted, integration is not a new concept for the region or even the world.
Fish farmers in Jatobá, Northeastern Brazil
Buyers agreed to destroy obsolete equipment to prevent its reuse in the power distribution network
What do electricity meters and mobile phones have in common? Answer: both are present in millions of Brazilian homes and both become electronic waste as soon as they are discarded. Though they do not contain heavy metals, their materials pose risks from the moment they are discarded in waste dumps or landfills.
Basically, any general statement you use to describe Brazil can be countered with a ‘but…’. The vast internal diversity in the country calls for nuanced statements. When it comes to the status of gender equality in Brazil, there are several layers of ‘but’.
Brazil has come a long way towards gender equality.
To understand this, we first need to “unpack” the causes of low efficiency.