202971 Making waves against the norm: Introducing chlorine-based water treatment in Indonesia

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:45 AM

Abigael Ati , Research and Evaluation, Aman Tirta, Jakarta, Indonesia
Maria Elena Figueroa, PhD , Center for Communication Program, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Robert Ainslie, MA , Center for Communication Program, Tanzania Field Office, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Data show that over 90% of households across Indonesia boil their drinking water. This is a success story of the Government of Indonesia that has historically promoted boiling as the main water treatment method. Recent studies show, however, that boiled water in a majority of households continues to be contaminated with E.coli. An alternative method to boiling that prevents recontamination is a chlorine-based treatment technology (Air RahMat) that has been promoted by the Aman Tirta program since 2006. What are the chances of the new product being adopted in a strong normative environment that favors boiling?

Using Normative Social Behavior Theory we monitored the adoption process of, and normative change regarding the new technology in program communities. We used focus group discussions with men and women and interviews with community leaders and health promoters in 6 districts across Indonesia; and conducted social network analysis.

Results showed that boiling as the only method is challenged by the current socio economic situation in Indonesia. Increased perceived benefits of the new technology moderate the role of normative behavior among women who prefer an economical and practical method to provide safe drinking water for the family. Continued use of this technology however will depend on the support that these women get from family members, their social network, and from community leaders who contribute in validating this normative transition.

Recommendation: Community leaders and other trusted sources need to show their open support for the new technology to increase confidence and trust among new users.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand factors that mediate the association between strong norms that promote boiling and the adoption of a chlorine-based treatment technology 2. Identify best practices in promoting chlorine-based treatment technologies among populations that have used boiling as their treatment method.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work as a Research and Evaluation officer in Aman Tirta/ Safe Water System Program of Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Program, Indonesia field office
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.