Differences in influence patterns between groups predicting the adoption of a solar disinfection technology for drinking water in Bolivia

Soc Sci Med. 2008 Aug;67(4):497-504. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.04.002. Epub 2008 May 26.


The lack of safe drinking water is one of the major problems faced by developing countries. The consequences of contaminated water are diseases such as diarrhea, one of the main causes of infant mortality. Because of its simplicity, solar water-disinfection technology provides a good way of treating water at the household level. Despite its obvious advantages and considerable promotional activities, this innovation has had rather a slow uptake. We conducted a field survey in which 644 households in Bolivia were interviewed in order to gain insights on motivations that resulted in adopting the technology. The aim was to examine possible differences in the predictors for adopting this technology during the diffusion process using the theory of innovation diffusion. Our findings indicate that early adoption was predicted by increased involvement in the topic of drinking water and that adoption in the middle of the diffusion process was predicted by increased involvement by opinion leaders and by recognition of a majority who supported the technology. Finally, late adoption was predicted by recognition that a majority had already adopted. Suggestions for future promotional strategies are outlined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bolivia
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Motivation*
  • Solar Energy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Water Purification / methods*
  • Water Supply*