Rigour, timeliness, and trade-offs in research: experience from India’s Swachh Bharat Mission

November 2023

This article presents lessons learnt from the evolution and usage of rapid action learning methods developed to support the Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin (the Clean India Mission – Rural) in India. The Mission, started in 2014, aimed to change the sanitation behaviours of over 530 million people across 706 districts in five years.

Participatory, action-orientated research and learning methods were trialled with government implementers, development partners, and communities. It was found that these methods enabled both a greater understanding of impacts at the community level, horizontal learning across districts, and the capacity development of Mission implementers.

Additional details

PublisherDevelopment in Practice
RegionSouth Asia
ThemesBehaviour change, Leave no one behind, Monitoring, evaluation and learning, Sustainability and safely managed sanitation
ApproachesImmersive approaches, Learning approaches, Rapid Action Learning approaches

Myers, J., Vernon, N. & Chambers, R. (2023) ‘Rigour, timeliness, and trade-offs in research: experience from India’s Swachh Bharat Mission’, Development in Practice, DOI: 10.1080/09614524.2023.2270634


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