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World Bank report stresses behavioural aspects

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A World Bank report — Mind Society and Behaviour — describes an impressive set of results when behavioural aspects are integrated into development policies. Released recently, the report shows that insights into how people make decisions can lead to new interventions that help households to save more, firms to increase productivity, communities to reduce the prevalence of diseases, parents to improve cognitive development in children, and consumers to save energy.

Open defecation dropped 11 per cent from very high levels, the report found, after a Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme was combined in some chosen villages with the standard approach of providing subsidies for toilet construction and information on about the transmission of diseases.

The CLTS campaign aimed to generate demand for a community free of open defecation and to elicit from the community itself a demand for an increase in the supply of sanitation products. One of the ways it was able to change behaviour and raise collective awareness of the sanitation problem involved a “walk of shame” to sites used for open defecation, collection of some faeces, placing it on the ground next to a bowl of rice, and watching as flies moved between the two. The CLTS facilitator then asked community members, “Would you like to eat the rice?” This triggered an emotional response (disgust), stimulated a desire among the villagers to end open defecation and forged their own plan for achieving it, the report says.

In another example of a programme of political affirmative action for women in West Bengal, the policy led some villages to have female leaders for the first time, the report says. It found that just seven years’ exposure to women leaders reduced men’s bias in evaluating women in leadership positions in these villages though they still preferred male leaders to female leaders. Additionally, the exposure to women leaders raised parents’ aspirations for their teenage daughters, raised the daughters’ aspirations for themselves, and led to a slight narrowing of the gender gap in schooling.

The policy push for political affirmation for backward castes resulted in increasing absenteeism among high-caste teachers and lowered the outcomes in the targeted village governments-run primary schools, according to the report. “High-caste teachers boycotted the attempted change in the status of low-caste individuals,” the report says.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 4:15:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/world-bank-report-stresses-behavioural-aspects/article6691378.ece

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