For development interventions to be successful, we rely on people to behave and choose in certain ways. For example, for new advanced agricultural practices to provide benefits, farmers must adopt and use them. Behaviour thus affects whether the provision of advanced farming technologies have the effect they are intended to achieve. An increasing trend in development is therefore to look at a specific problem through a “behaviour” lens to enhance our understanding of the problem and people’s behaviours, also referred to as behavioural design.
The main objective of behavioural design is to improve the reach and effectiveness of interventions to address development challenges. To give an example, in many developing countries women’s productivity in agricultural businesses is lower than that of men. The key question is then: how do we diagnose this problem? Possible reasons for the lower productivity of women in agriculture may be that women have less access to inputs, finance or markets. It is also possible that female farmers have less access to knowledge, for example around advanced farming techniques that could improve productivity. Each of these diagnoses is based on the presumption that a female farmer who has access will also make use of this access and benefit from it. These diagnoses and assumptions in turn determine the solution that will be chosen: focusing on increasing access. This SNV blog series discusses current findings from their women’s economic empowerment programs in Vietnam and Kenya.