A solid foundation on which to build
RGHI seeks to address the significant gaps in the current evidence base relating to hygiene behaviours and their impact. The high-quality research-based scientific evidence that it funds will inform public health recommendations and promote behaviours that improve global hygiene. RGHI also works to convene the many bodies involved in hygiene and public health to build a network to share information and good practice. Of particular note, RGHI sees mapping and incorporating the network of ‘adjacent’ research fields that contribute to the global understanding of hygiene as essential to building a holistic and sustainable approach. The evidence gaps will be filled by commissioning and publishing a series of reviews and creating a central repository of hygiene research.
The evidence base from which guidance on hygiene behaviours is derived is poorly developed and has many gaps. RGHI seeks to identify and explore those gaps by commissioning and publishing a series of reviews, and by creating a central repository of hygiene research. This work will allow RGHI to identify specific areas for RGHI’s investment in building the evidence base.
“There are challenges inherent in the process of change, and creating solutions requires a knowledge of the problems and barriers, as well as an understanding of the systems approaches that will help these changes to bed into place. We face behavioural and cultural challenges to change, and these are made more difficult by the lack of a common language and access to few quantitative measures and tools.”
Funding new research
The hygiene field has struggled to attract academic talent and funding for research. RGHI seeks to remedy this by commissioning specific, directed research through grant funding, and by funding a post-doctoral fellowship programme in hygiene. These three-year fellowships are available to early-career post-doctoral researchers, and the programme is designed to develop a sustainable cohort of high-potential leaders in the field.
On-the-ground behavioural intervention projects in hygiene are beset by a number of problems: lack of common outcome measures; inability to scale in new geographies; lack of well-modelled social and economic impact analysis. RGHI will address these by co-developing new economic models and outcome measures, and by working as an initiating funder of key behavioural projects. RGHI will help to ensure that good scientific discipline is incorporated into these projects. In addition, RGHI will conduct periodic analyses of findings from such projects to ensure that their utility and scalable impact is maximised.