SaniFOAM: A Framework to Design Effective Sanitation Programs

Photo credit: Jaime FriasIn developing countries today, 2.5 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation services, profoundly affecting their health, along with their economic and social well-being. Focused only on building facilities, traditional approaches to improving sanitation have not achieved significant and sustained sanitation coverage. Recently, more promising strategies have concentrated on creating demand for improved sanitation by changing behaviors—while also strengthening the availability of supporting products and services.
Before sanitation behaviors can be changed, they must first be understood. Why do individuals with latrines continue to defecate in the open? What factors enable individuals or households to move up what is known as “the sanitation ladder,”where they progress from open defecation, to the use of simple latrines, to the use of more improved options such as toilets connected to a sewer? What factors inhibit them from doing so?
Introducing SaniFOAM: A Framework to Analyze Sanitation Behaviors to Design Effective Sanitation Programs provides an overview to a conceptual framework designed to answer some of these questions.
SaniFOAM categorizes sanitation behavioral determinants under three headings: opportunity, ability, and motivation. These can be broadly defined as follows:
  • Opportunity: Does the individual have the chance to perform the behavior?
  • Ability: Is the individual capable of performing it?
  • Motivation: Does the individual want to perform it?
With the letter F for Focus, these categories spell out F-O-A-M.
Based on Population Services International's PERForM framework, SaniFOAM was developed at a 2008 workshop organized and led by WSP and attended by participants from six organizations. SaniFOAM is currently being applied by WSP’s Global Scaling Up Sanitation Project in India, Indonesia, and Tanzania.
For more information, please contact Eduardo Perez, or visit