Study of socio-cultural factors in WASH programmes
The Groupe URD Observatory has been commissioned by the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to develop a social-cultural evaluation tool for Water, Sanitatiion and Hygiene programmes. A number of evaluations of programmes implemented since the earthquake have highlighted problems between programme content and social and cultural influences, whether these are related to religious beliefs, social relations, the economic situation of households or specific cultural features. The cholera epidemic, for example, revealed a certain number of beliefs, often with a strong mystical content, about water and hygiene. There have also been many cases in recent years which have shown the difficulty for communities to establish ownership of infrastructure once external assistance has withdrawn. This issue is closely related to socio-anthropological aspects. Improving understanding of the socio-cultural issues behind relations to water, sanitation and hygiene will make it easier to understand how to interact with communities and to design more suitable projects in this area. The study is due to last for two months, from June to August, 2013.