Nudge, Nudge

Nudge, Nudge

For handwashing to be effective, it needs to be practiced consistently and thoroughly. Even when people have access to soap and water, and know how and why to wash their hands, many still do not properly wash their hands consistently at critical times. The handwashing behavior change challenge is not only to encourage people to wash their hands with soap, but to do so correctly and at all critical times. Nudges are one example of a behavior change tool that can encourage people to wash their hands.


What are nudges?

Nudges are a behavior change tool that can encourage people to wash their hands. They are meant to be placed in a visible location or in the user’s path, so that they stand out.  They should be actionable and easy to interpret.

The idea of nudges rests on the theory that behavior is not only based on conscious thoughts and decisions, but that it can be unconsciously guided by changing the way that options are presented to people, with the intention of influencing their choices. Handwashing is often done as a relatively unconscious habitual action, and can be easily triggered by properly placed nudges.


How do are we using nudges in our program?

We will be sending hand and foot nudges to select schools to accompany our Handwashing Works materials to help children form healthy hand washing habits!  These ‘nudges’ are a set of colorful laminated cutouts in the shape of hands and vinyl footprints. Our Handwashing Works foot nudges are to be placed in the school restroom leading from the stalls to the sink.  And, the hand nudges are to be placed on the paper towel and soap dispensers. Urging children to follow the path to better hand hygiene.

Our aim is to provide all children with the tools that they need to form healthy hygiene habits that become second nature to them. Here are some other visual queues that are available for download on our website

Some other ideas to nudge your students into handwashing are:

  • Hang the When to Wash Poster up in your play area to aid them with visual cues as a reminder of when to wash their hands.
  • Stick Gunky Gus printouts to trashcans and other dirty objects to remind them to wash up after they touch something dirty.
  • Hang the Handwashing steps next to the sink as a reinforcement reminder after teaching the program.
  • Hang the Handwashing sink poster on the back of the bathroom door to alert a student before they leave the restroom incase they have forgotten.


For more information, view our affiliate, Global Handwashing Partnership‘s article:


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