Case Studies

Case studies promoting collective experiences seeking to strengthen community-led approach within public health emergency response

Wash’Em: resources and tools to design handwashing promotion programmes for COVID-19 response


Wash’Em is a process for rapidly designing evidence-based and context-adapted handwashing promotion programmes in crises and outbreaks. This process involves using 5 rapid assessment tools to understand behaviour. The Rapid Assessment tools are participatory methods which each explore a different determinant of handwashing behaviour and are designed to generate the kinds of data needed to influence program design. The findings from the tools are entered into the Wash’Em software which selects from 80+ handwashing activities to provide a tailored set recommendations for the users context. Each activity comes with a step-by-step guide to aid organisations in planning the logistics and delivery of their programme. The process can be completed in as little as 4 days.

In the early stage of the pandemic, we developed a COVID-19 guide with activity explainers, we ran a series of webinars, developed videos of activities and video blogs about some of the technical aspects of handwashing. These resources focused on low-cost and feasible actions that actors could take to promote handwashing in the early stages of the pandemic.

As we have transitioned from the acute phase of the response into a phase of longer-term programming for COVID-19 control, we have been learning from our users about how they have safely and effectively used the Wash’Em approach to shape their COVID-19 programmes. This has included developing remote training packages, providing direct support to many users and developing materials that summarise safe and effective ways of working during the pandemic.

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handwashing, social science research