SEI Research Fellow Marie Jürisoo will convene a panel on the role of behaviour and choice in helping development efforts deliver on energy access and sanitation.

“For development interventions to be effective it is imperative to understand the needs and wants of the users of proposed solutions. This is particularly important if the interventions involve introducing a new technology.

“Using human-centered design methods, we researched what motivates people to purchase and learn to use an advanced cookstove. But motivating people to purchase clean cookstoves is only the first step in the journey to adoption – buyers also need support when learning to use the stove. This part of the adoption process is often overlooked by cookstove implementers”, said Jürisoo.

Fellow panellist Amans Ntakarutimana of the University of Rwanda-College of Medicine and Health, said “There is a need for approaches that can support sustainable behaviour change and practice at the household level in rural and peri urban settings, which are often not well served compared to urban settings.”

SEI Research Fellow Sarah Dickin will present recent research on sanitation in Burkina Faso on how social capital, such as group membership, mutual aid and sharing of knowledge, play an important role in promoting adoption and sustained use of sanitation.

“Poor sanitation in a few households can create health risks to an entire community, so we need to start thinking about sanitation behaviours collectively, rather than only looking at individual factors like a desire for privacy or convenience,” said Dickin.

A panel on land and resource tenure rights will highlight new thinking from Matthew Fielding, Project Manager at SEI, and Jesper Karlsson of FAO. The pair recently realised that little attention had been paid to the critical role of secure land tenure in climate-smart agriculture.

According to Fielding, “it is important to consider climate change adaptation from the angle of the land user’s tenure status, especially in a smallholder context. Without secure tenure, investment in land will be minimal, and likely to mine it of nutrients and organic matter – essentially its fertility.”

“This also applies to other resources bundled in land such as water and forests. Consequently, when a smallholder farmer with insecure land tenure is approached to adapt their mode of cultivation to a more climate friendly system they have little incentive to do this, especially if the transformation will only yield rewards in the medium or long term – such as carbon credits. So we can see that land tenure is a key contributor to how the success of smallholder farmers involved in climate change adaptation schemes. When we made this connection we were surprised to find that it hadn’t been thought of before.”

Sanitation will also be a focus, with SEI Research Fellow Kim Andersson presenting in a panel which will discuss the findings of the SIANI expert group on water, sanitation and food production.

According to Andersson, “The opportunities for resource recovery of waste streams is considerable. Using Africa as an example, achieving reuse of human faeces could double the fertilizer input on the continent, and be an important step to strengthen food security.”

The conference runs from 22 to 24 August. SEI’s panels on technology uptake and land tenure both start at 2 pm on 23 August, while the panel on water sanitation and food production starts at 9 am on 24 August.

Keynote speeches will be given by Andrea Cornwall, (University of Sussex) on gender discrimination, and Andrea J. Nightingale (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) on rescaling environmental governance and development practice.

Learn more about SEI’s work on behaviour and choice in development interventions»

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