Hygiene Evaluation Procedures: Approaches and Methods for Assessing Water and Sanitation Related Hygiene Practices

Date of Design: 
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health and Nutrition
Pathway Component: 
Caring Capacity & Practices


Brief Description: This handbook provides practical guidelines for evaluation of water and sanitation-related hygiene practices. It is designed to make qualitative research skills accessible to practitioners who have little or no previous training in social sciences, and emphasizes how to gather, review, and interpret qualitative information. 

Uses: The focus is on the practical concerns of field personnel working in water supply, sanitation, and health/hygiene education projects who want to design and conduct their own evaluations of hygiene practices. An evaluation of hygiene practices can be used for project planning and monitoring, and final assessment of project impact. 

Tool Components: The primary components of this handbook include:

  1. What are Hygiene Evaluation Procedures (HEP)?
  2. Planning a hygiene evaluation study
  3. Training the study team
  4. Designing a hygiene evaluation study
  5. Methods and tools for investigating the context
  6. Investigating hygiene practices
  7. Analysis, presentation, and implementation of findings 


Number of Staff Required: A good study team will include at least one or two people from the local population or culture who are good communicators; at least two or three project staff who have good writing skills and can commit to the study from start to finish, and other senior project staff.

Time: The studies proposed by the guidelines in this handbook may be conducted in a matter of a few months, if not weeks.

Cost of Assessment: The total cost can vary greatly. The handbook provides guidance on items to consider when planning a budget: staff training, transportation costs, subsistence (food, drink), staff remuneration, and room/space costs.

Training: Once the study team is established, you will need an experienced applied anthropologist or related social scientist who can train, guide and supervise the study team during planning, designing, and conducting the study.

Geographic Targeting: The handbook is used for conducting a hygiene evaluation in a given project area (to plan a project or monitor/assess an existing project). Therefore, the geographic targeting will be defined by project objectives.

Type of Data Collection: This handbook emphasizes the depth of information on hygiene practices that can be gathered through qualitative methods. Qualitative and quantitative approaches can simultaneously be adopted to address questions of breadth and depth. Methods and tools listed include a health walk, structured observations, key information interviews, community mapping, and seasonal calendar.

Degree of Technical Difficulty: The HEP handbook is designed to make qualitative research skills accessible to practitioners who have little or no social science training. Conducting a HEP study requires an experienced anthropologist or social scientist to train and support the team. 

Complements other Resources: This anthropological approach could provide insights that complement a variety of assessment tools, particularly those that are more quantitative.

This summary is part of a larger resource called the Context Assessment Tool Locator.