Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Renee Botta, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nadia Kaneva

Third Advisor

Margaret Thompson

Fourth Advisor

Randall Kuhn


Behavior-change, Kenya, Kibera, Point-of-use water treatment, Safe water system, Theory of Planned Behavior


During the summer of 2010, formative field research was collected in Kibera, Africa’s largest urban informal settlement, located in Nairobi, Kenya. Research explored how a Western-developed behavior-change theoretical model could be applied in a developing country. Data was collected through focus groups, a case study and direct observations. Recommendations were made for an intervention to reduce the incidence of childhood diarrhea. A campaign was proposed that promoted consistent and sustainable use of the Safe Water System, that is, point-of-use drinking water treatment and safe drinking water storage. Results revealed that it was indeed feasible to apply the Western model, Theory of Planned Behavior as the campaign’s theoretical framework, so long as the following issues were addressed: First, barriers had to be reduced to enable positive attitudes and self-efficacy. Second, normative behaviors and beliefs had to be assessed through Kenya’s societal norms – including its collectivist culture and high-context communication style. Normative behaviors were recommended to be designed directly into the campaign structure through a woman’s group train-the-trainer program that utilized peer education, behavioral modeling, and motivational interviewing principles. This paper adds to the research literature in two ways. It encourages future SWS interventions to utilize behavior-change theory and formative research in order to explain current behaviors and identify strategies that promote sustainable behavior change.

Second and more importantly, this thesis adds to the existing research pertaining to the use of the Theory of Planned Behavior in the developing world. Although the theory was designed and perhaps intended for application in Western cultures, if assessed through a cultural lens the theory shows efficacy in other cultures.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Kelly Fenson-Hood


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

146 p.


Communication, Sub Saharan Africa studies