Demonstration is a useful tool for working with priority or influencer groups. It can support an individual’s belief in their capacity to execute the targeted behaviour effectively or use and maintain an item appropriately [B.4].
Through demonstration, visual and verbal explanation, the target audience can learn to use and maintain an item or perform something effectively and correctly. It could be used to introduce new technology such as household water treatment P.3, a handwashing station P.2, menstrual products P.7, mosquito nets P.5 or for a behaviour such as handwashing with soap. Practising and explaining each step is effective, as people tend to believe what they see and feel comfortable if they are able to do it themselves. Demonstrations can address common problems people may face when performing the required behaviour and provide tips and tricks to overcome them. Demonstrations can take place at distribution points, small local meetings or gatherings or in institutions such as schools or health facilities. Volunteers can be trained to conduct demonstrations in their communities. In some cases, Demonstration by specialists may be more convincing; the choice should be based on a preceding analysis of the motivations for behaviour change and the influential groups. Demonstrations are also useful in training because they allow for the practice of skills learned. The more interactive the demonstration, the more effective it will be. It must therefore be conducted in local languages and in living situations to make it as real as possible for participants. Demonstrations are not effective on their own; they must be part of a wider behaviour change strategy (chapter B ). They are often accompanied by information, education and communication materials T.19 which can increase the effectiveness of a Demonstration by illustrating the target behaviour.
Demonstration is a universal tool and can be used in any situation and with different target groups. They are more effective in smaller groups and should be adapted to the needs and level of understanding of each specific group. Increasing the coverage of demonstrations, therefore, requires the identification, training and support of outreach networks; Demonstration kits should be provided.
Demonstrate in real-life contexts using the same equipment that the audience expects to use
Make time to answer questions posed by the audience and be prepared to repeat the demonstration
Budget to train and equip outreach workers to perform demonstrations
Do not use alternative similar items (e.g. a different water treatment product to the one being distributed) or modify the target behaviour for the purpose of the demonstration
Do not cut corners or speed up the Demonstration as you become familiar with doing it
In 2011, during a cholera outbreak in Haiti, Oxfam trained community volunteers in affected communities on household water treatment before, during and after the distribution of chlorine tablets to ensure their correct use. Chlorine tablets were new to the communities and some people believed that they were medical pills and were scared to use them. Demonstrating at a community level and practising with the communities using their own water sources helped to build trust in the household water treatment.
Goel, S., Chandrashekar, B. R. (2020): Evaluating the Efficacy of Handwashing Demonstration on Hand Hygiene Among School Students. An Interventional Study, Journal of Education and health Promotion
Oxfam (2012): Hygiene Promotion for Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage in Emergencies UK