Barrier Analysis Capitalisation

A brief guide including challenges and recommendations for conducting a Barrier Analysis

What is barrier analysis?

Barrier analysis is a rapid assessment that aims to inform design of behaviour change projects by identifying the main enablers and barriers to behaviour adoption. This qualitative and quantitative method compares ‘doers’ and ‘non-doers’ (people who practice the behaviour and people who don’t) regarding 12 determinants influencing behaviour. The barrier analysis methodology was introduced a couple of years ago in Action Against Hunger programming and has been used in at least four countries.

Capitalising on barrier analysis

In 2017, Action Against Hunger in France and the USA conducted a review exercise to capitalise on this experience. The capitalisation consisted of interviews with field workers from eight country teams who have completed a barrier analysis. The countries included were Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda. A total of 40 barrier analyses were discussed, most completed between 2015 and 2017, covering behaviours related to: food security and livelihoods; water, sanitation and hygiene; mental health and care practices; and nutrition and health. The interviews discussed the country office’s reasons for doing a barrier analysis, the advantages and challenges, limitations, use of results to design activities, and recommendations.

Why conduct a barrier analysis?

The main reasons to conduct a barrier analysis were to understand why a specific behaviour is practiced or not, and identify the reasons for which ongoing activities did not lead to a successful behaviour change. Among its advantages, it teaches field workers to really listen to beneficiaries’ opinions and help them to understand issues from their perspective; it then allowed them to develop a clear strategy, recommendations, and solutions. Although they may face some difficulties, conducting barrier analyses is an empowering experience for Action Against Hunger field workers. It can help staff to really listen to beneficiaries’ point of view and identify the key determinants influencing behaviours. It urges them to reflect on the activities they usually do and to propose creative solutions.


About this document

Section: Learning

Thematic Area: Project Cycle Management

Location: Global

Type: Article

Language: English

Key Information


Author: Armelle Sacher, Aymeric Fuseau

Year Published: 2017
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