Growing evidence suggests current water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions do not improve domestic hygiene sufficiently to improve infant health, nor consider the age-specific behaviors which increase infection risk. A household playspace (HPS) is described as one critical intervention to reduce direct fecal–oral transmission within formative growth periods. This article details both the design and development (materials and methods), and testing (results) of a HPS for rural Ethiopian households. Design and testing followed a multi-sectoral, multistep participatory process. This included a focus group discussion (FGD), two user-centered and participatory design workshops in the United Kingdom and Ethiopia, discussions with local manufacturers, and a Trials by Improved Practices (TIPs) leading to a final prototype design. Testing included the FGD and TIPs study and a subsequent randomized controlled feasibility trial in Ethiopian households. This multi-sectoral, multistage development process demonstrated a HPS is an acceptable and feasible intervention in these low-income, rural subsistence Ethiopian households. A HPS may help reduce fecal–oral transmission and infection—particularly in settings where free-range domestic livestock present an increased risk. With the need to better tailor interventions to improve infant health, this article also provides a framework for future groups developing similar material inputs and highlights the value of participatory design in this field.
Address correspondence to Alison Parker, Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University, Cranfield MK43 0AL, United Kingdom. E-mail: email@example.com
Financial support: S. B. is jointly funded as a research student by both Cranfield University and people in need, who received funding from the Czech Development Agency for the project.