Small Doable Actions: A Feasible Approach to Behavior Change, A Learning Brief
The Small Doable Action Approach: Improving Practices of Individuals and Households
WASHplus incorporates a small doable action approach to change WASH and household air pollution practices in its global- and country-level activities. Rather than promoting the ideal WASH practices (e.g., build and use a flush toilet or insist that all family members wash hands at all five critical junctions using running water and soap), we construct a continuum of behaviors that span from unacceptable to ideal. Small doable actions (SDAs) are behaviors that are deemed feasible to perform in resource-constrained settings, from the householder point of view, and effective at personal and public health levels.
Behaviors that meet these two criteria—feasible and effective—are considered small doable actions and are included in the menu of options for WASH behavioral improvement. Stepping stone behaviors that may be on the pathway but do not directly yield impact are not considered SDAs, (e.g., buying cement or singing the happy hygiene song). To move toward the ideal, WASHplus supports improving WASH behaviors, one SDA at a time.