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Posted 02 July 2021


Behaviour Change Projects in Action

Shorter showers, supporting sustainable fishing, and riding more e-bikes to work – the three Academy of Change (AoC) Catalyst pilots are changing behaviours on the ground toward more sustainability. As a special programme of the Academy of Change, the Catalyst is supporting non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to turn sustainable behaviour change knowledge into an asset for their projects.

Shorter showers

In Lyon, France, student accommodation providers CROUS are looking to reduce the environmental impact of their buildings. But with water and energy included in the rooms’ rent rather than as separate bills, encouraging students to use water and heating sustainably is tricky. From a co-creation process, Maïté Garnier from HESPUL has set up the Shorter Showers project to pilot an innovative idea to reduce the amount of water students use during showering.

“What I enjoy about the pilot itself is the fieldwork: organising a co-creation workshop where new ideas emerge, solving practical issues that arise along the way, facilitating between different persons that need to collaborate, and meeting the students.”Maïté Garnier, HESPUL

The team’s idea of an interactive musical shower hopes to encourage students to use only as much water as they need. Students will be able to take part by simply scanning a QR code on a poster in their bathroom, which will then start playing a song of a certain length on their device. The students are encouraged to only shower for as long as the song lasts and are given options of shorter and shorter songs to challenge them to be as efficient with their water use as possible. The pilot aims to prove that by using gamification, there will be an overall measurable reduction in the accommodation block.

Supporting sustainable community fishing

Communities around the world rely on fishing as a source of income and nutrition, but often don’t have access to information that helps them make decisions that generate positive economic, social and environmental impacts for the area. Rare, a civil society organisation specialised in behaviour change, works with coastal communities around the globe to support the sharing of such information through their Fish Forever and its OurFish APP.

“I am particularly excited about the opportunity to make scientific data more accessible to the people we work with as this is one of the cornerstones of our program goal: sustainable, community-led, small-scale fisheries management.”, says Claudia Quintanilla, Rare

For example, the aggregate data of how much of a species is bought on the market provides communities with a picture of stock levels, an important lever to adapt their behaviours and operate in more sustainable ways. For their Catalyst project, Rare has come up with various options for prototype interventions to support people with using the APP consistently and effectively for at least six months. One of such interventions is setting up networks of local ambassadors who will support their communities in using the APP to make informed decisions. The team has also put thought into adapting their pilot methods and resources to work well in the local contexts, for example by developing physical guides for the ambassadors to be able to refer to as they assist community members in the field.

Riding more e-bikes to work

The physical effort first thing in the morning, the extra time compared to driving by car, and the need to shower at work are some of the barriers that Nadya Tasheva from CEED found out prevented people in Sofia from cycling to work. In her team’s Catalyst project Bikemode, they offer a solution to overcome all three of these barriers through working with businesses to provide e-bikes to commute to and from work.

I hope that the Bikemode project helps people by providing them with the capability, opportunity and motivation to be healthier, happier and willing to bring positive change in their lives and in society as well as to care more for the environment.”- Nadya Tasheva, CEED Bulgaria.

Having already tested the idea with e-bikes from a nearby manufacturer and analysing local survey results, Nadya Tasheva knows that there is potential to shift the percentage of people using low carbon alternatives to get to work. She wants to show which behaviour change tools and incentives will be most suited to both the users of the e-bikes as well as the companies.

The Catalyst is a special programme offered by the Academy of Change (AoC) aimed at supporting non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to undertake change by providing tailor-made tools and supporting them in turning sustainable behaviour change knowledge into an asset for their daily work.

To hear more about the progress of the Catalyst projects, subscribe to the programme’s newsletter and/or follow AoC on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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