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Title: Convergence of Social Marketing and Engineering: A Lead Mitigation Study in Madagascar
Background and Situation Analysis

The importance of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects for the protection of health is embedded in the sustainable development goals. However, within the development and humanitarian fields sustainability of WASH projects is still a challenge with 30–50% of projects failing within two to five years of implementation. Though failure is not linked to any one source, a common theme speaks to a greater need for community engagement and integration of the wants and needs of the end-user in the design process. Social marketing, with its focus on the consumer and use of commercial marketing strategies to achieve behavior change is a promising approach that can be integrated into ongoing WASH initiatives to meet program outcomes and to achieve long-term sustainability.

Priority audience

Primary audience includes technicians who manufacture and repair pitcher pumps. Secondary audience includes community members in Toamasina, Madagascar, who will experience a decrease in exposure to lead through their water supply.

Behavioral objectives

Decrease exposure to lead (Pb) introduced through the use of a decentralized, self-supply water system, the pitcher pump. Specifically, decrease use of leaded components in the manufacturing and repair of pitcher-pumps


Development of the intervention followed the social marketing process including conducting a situational analysis, identification and selection of a behavioral focus and priority population, formative research, development of an integrated marketing strategy, pretesting the strategy, followed by campaign implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. An intervention focused on building a sense of community and introducing the element of professionalism for the pump manufacturers was developed, consisting of personalized one-on-one outreach to raise awareness of the health topic, followed by skill building trainings on how to make the switch to non-leaded components. This was coupled with tangible products that created a new professional network, documentation of work, and backing of work by trusted government entities.

Evaluation Methods and Results

Using the theory of planned behavior, a pre/post-test summative evaluation was developed. Preliminary results indicate that pump technicians no longer use lead in pumps unless specifically requested by the pump owners. These results indicate a positive shift towards the use of lead-free components with project follow-up and analysis ongoing.

Recommendations for Social Marketing Practice

Use of social marketing within the WASH sector is lacking. This paper demonstrates the integration of social marketing in an ongoing WASH project. Through a description of each step of the process, our experiences in implementing it and the lessons learned, we hope to guide future integration. Additionally, this paper demonstrates the convergence of engineers and social marketers working collaboratively on an interdisciplinary team and how this served to enhance project understanding, aid in building local partnerships and help with long-term sustainability.

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Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
SAGE Publications
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Social Marketing Quarterly
Medium: X Size: p. 87-104
p. 87-104
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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