What Do Pesticides, Latrines and Teachers All Have in Common?
At OMPT we believe that video is one if the most powerful tools available to influence behavior change across multiple disciplines, sectors and geographic locations. The advantage of video is that it can easily overcome many obstacles that would otherwise inhibit change such as language, culture, location and access to resources such as electricity. Video is so effective for behavior change that it can be used for nearly any discipline such as health, agriculture, education and civic engagement. To put it in the words of our Program Manager, Kristin, “essentially if there is a behavior change component, then video can be integrated.” At OMPT we have worked with partner organizations across a variety of sectors and have witnessed positive change with lasting results. Let’s take a look at some specific examples:
Video for Behavior Change in Health: Latrines, Hand-Washing and Sanitation
In the health sector we have used video to help partner organizations foster behavior change in several areas including access to clean water, latrines, hand-washing, maternal health and breastfeeding. In 2016 we partnered with the International Mercy Corps in Ethiopia to address the country’s lack of adequate sanitation through the use of latrines. Diarrheal disease, a consequence of poor sanitation and hygiene practices, is one of the leading causes of under-five mortality in Ethiopia. We conducted a video training workshop alongside the International Mercy Corps to highlight the importance of using latrines and safe handwashing techniques. All of the videos created were in the national language, Amharic, so that they could easily reach every member of the community without the barrier of a foreign language getting in the way. The videos, shown on mobile projectors, both demonstrated proper hygiene and handwashing techniques and highlighted the health benefits of good sanitation, providing an example for members of the community to replicate.
Video for Behavior Change in Agriculture: Addressing Malnutrition
Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world and half of Guatemalan children under the age of five experience stunting and are unable to adequately grow and develop due to malnutrition. Inadequate nutrition is a multifaceted issue that needs to be addressed through a number of sectors including health care systems, education, agriculture and food security. OMPT collaborated with Plan International to create videos that addressed the issue of malnutrition from several angles including improved agricultural practices and the importance of meeting nutritional guidelines for families and children. In one video, a local Guatemalan woman demonstrated how to make safe, organic pesticides to increase crop yields and maximize food production for families. This particular video provided families in the community with the practical knowledge of the use of organic pesticides to address the issue of malnutrition through improved agricultural techniques.
Video for Behavior Change in Education: Teacher Training
Low-quality education coupled with limited access for vulnerable populations present a major challenge to the Tanzanian education system. In Tanzania, over one million children still lack access to quality education. Education, at its core begins with educators. When OMPT traveled to Tanzania in 2017 we partnered with the Foundation for Tomorrow to train teachers and improve the overall quality of education for students. Portable video is an effective means for transferring knowledge in places like Tanzania where access to electricity and other resources is unpredictable. Instead of requiring teachers to take days off to travel to a central location for teacher training, videos can be delivered and viewed in any location, allowing teachers more time to teach. The information being delivered through video is consistent and concise, giving educators new tools and resources in education, all while giving them more time to be present with students in the classroom. Currently, The Foundation for Tomorrow is preparing for a video education course for improved teacher trainers, using several videos they’ve created since the Video Education Workshop.
At OMPT we focus on one simple mission: using video and projector technology to enable partner organizations to encourage behavior change. Within that vision, the possibilities for change are limitless. It has been shown that video can be applied to any area of behavior change and can easily overcome the cultural challenges and physical barriers that can inhibit change from occurring.