Category Archives: Emergency Sanitation

Beyond hardware: how a portable sink can inspire behaviour change

Beyond hardware: how a portable sink can inspire behaviour change by Geoff Revell at WaterSHED | Source: WaterAid Blog, June 29, 2016 |

Despite having a cheap and simple fix that could prevent millions of deaths, how to encourage handwashing has puzzled WASH sector experts for years. The rate of handwashing with soap after using the toilet is still estimated to be only 16%. So how do we get people to wash their hands? Geoff Revell, Program Director at WaterAid partner NGO WaterSHED, explains how development of the HappyTap sheds light on new ways to target behaviour. 

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Children using a Happy Tap at school in Ben Tre province, Vietnam.

Awareness campaigns have long been the mainstay of public health efforts to improve handwashing, but on their own they are typically unsuccessful. A multi-year, large-scale behaviour-change campaign in Vietnam, led by World Bank and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, put the challenge in focus. The evaluation of the campaign concluded: ‘the intervention led to an increase in knowledge’, but ‘handwashing with soap behavior in the target population has not changed substantially as a result of the intervention, and thus no health or productivity impacts are found’.

Unfortunately, there is a persistent gap between knowledge and action; after years of education and promotion, many families understand when and why to wash their hands, but still aren’t doing it. Various studies, including one from Kyrgyzstan, have shown a link between the presence of handwashing facilities and rates of handwashing, suggesting a possible causal relationship. But is having more sanitary hardware enough to get people to routinely wash their hands?

Bridging the adoption gap

It’s unlikely that any single intervention would be a silver bullet. However, although sanitary hardware might help improve rates of washing, we can go beyond the physical hardware and use facilities to reinforce and build on awareness. The HappyTap is the first such hardware designed with behaviour change front and centre. It’s a portable sink that not only delivers functionality, but also inspires change.

How can a handwashing station be more than the sum of its parts? Three crucial elements in the design and marketing help boost its success.

Read the complete article.

WHO – Recovery Toolkit: Supporting countries to achieve health service resilience

Recovery Toolkit: Supporting countries to achieve health service resilience: A library of tools & resources available during the recovery period of a public health emergency, 2016.

WHO

The overall goal of this Toolkit is to support countries in the reactivation of essential health services in the aftermath of a public health emergency. The Toolkit has been constructed to support the implementation of national health plans. The initial target audience are WHO Country Offices, for onward sharing and dissemination to ministries of health and implementation partners in-country.

Pages 44 – 48 are focused on WASH resources.

Impact of WASH interventions during disease outbreaks in humanitarian emergencies: A systematic review protocol

Impact of WASH interventions during disease outbreaks in humanitarian emergencies: A systematic review protocol, 2016. Authors: Yates, Travis, Vijcic, Jelena Joseph, Myriam Leandre, Lantagne, Daniele

The purpose of this document is to clearly describe the proposed research questions and methodology for a systematic review on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions in disease outbreaks. The systematic review has a singular overarching objective in assessing the impact of emergency hygiene interventions. oxfam

The primary research question will be answered through four secondary objectives that further evaluate: a) use of service and disease reduction; b) positive intervention characteristics; c) cost-effectiveness; and d) non-health related factors of emergency WASH interventions in disease outbreaks.

This review is funded through the Humanitarian Evidence Programme, a UK Aid-funded partnership between Oxfam and Feinstein International Center (FIC) at the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University. The Humanitarian Evidence Programme aims to synthesize evidence in the humanitarian sector and communicate the findings to stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of improving humanitarian policy and practice.

WASH Alliance Kenya – Impact of a school WASH club

WaterAid – How to sell toilets: a new approach to sanitation marketing in South East Asia

WaterAid – How to sell toilets: a new approach to sanitation marketing in South East Asia | Source: WaterAid Blog, April 22, 2015.

In Cambodia, an organisation named WaterSHED has developed a successful approach to marketing sanitation to remote communities which has reached 40% of Cambodians and is spreading fast across the Mekong region.

Excerpts: Established in 2010, WaterSHED – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Enterprise Development – is a business development services provider working to bring effective and affordable water and sanitation products to the market, focusing on Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Only 28% of people in Cambodia are estimated to have access to sanitation – less in rural areas – and communities and businesses are not always interested in improving this or able to make change happen.

Local supplier with samples of toilet components. Photo: WaterAid/ Erik Harvey.

Local supplier with samples of toilet components. Photo: WaterAid/ Erik Harvey.

Although several organisations in the country were working on sanitation when WaterSHED was established, there was little coherence in their approaches, which Geoff Revell, Regional Programme Manager for WaterSHED, found frustrating. “While on one hand, there is space to try out new things, on the other, there are various approaches, some of which are subsidy driven, that are not very effective.”

A ‘hands-off’ approach

WaterSHED takes a ‘hands-off’ approach, using community leaders to generate demand for sanitation, working with the supply chain to offer appropriate and affordable products and identifying incentives to increase take-up. The organisation encourages businesses to consider adopting sanitation-related products that would complement other aspects of their wider business and thus enable them to diversify. It believes its role as a ‘market facilitator’ is finite, and that exit strategies need to be in place to enable private and public sector players to take over.

The sanitation marketing approach has six key components:

  • Identify community leaders to make the pitch for sanitation.
    Generate demand for toilets using a combination of pride and disgust messages.
  • Link communities to supply chains and vice versa, focusing on home delivery, affordability and promotional models.
  • Enable suppliers to be reliable and trustworthy, offering good-quality products, information and advice.
  • Make links to micro-financing where appropriate.
  • Help identify appropriate and adaptable incentives.

Read the complete article

Deprived of water and sanitation in Gaza

We don’t want another catastrophe besides the one we already have. Fatma (43) mother of 9 children

Since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza on 7 July 2014, codenamed “Protective Edge”, the water and wastewater infrastructure in Gaza has been heavily affected by Israeli airstrikes and shelling.

Main water supply and wastewater as well as electricity infrastructure has been hit. As a result services have been cut or severely disrupted, affecting the entire population in Gaza.

Up to 25 per cent of Gaza’s population were displaced. The 1.8 million people in Gaza, living in homes and shelters have extremely restricted access to water and sanitation.

Fatma, 45, was displaced with her family and sought shelter at a school in Ash Shuja’iyeh. She speaks in a Thirsting for Justice campaign video about the problems with water, sanitation and hygiene that her family faces amongst the many other displaced.

Photo: EWASH

Thirsting for Justice is an initiative of EWASH, the Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene group in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

UNESCO-IHE – Smart eSOS toilet for emergencies

UNESCO-IHE – Smart eSOS toilet for emergencies | SOURCE: UNESCO-IHE, July 2014 |

The emergency Sanitation Operation System (eSOS) concept provides a sustainable, holistic and affordable sanitation solution during the aftermath of a disaster. The eSOS reinvents (emergency) toilet and treatment facilities, and uses ICT to bring cost savings to the entire sanitation management chain. The toilet will improve the quality of life of people in need during emergency situations – from natural to anthropological disasters – and minimizes the threat to public health of the most vulnerable members of society.  esos-toilet_0

The eSOS concept was developed by UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The experimental prototype of the smart toilet was developed in collaboration with FLEX/The INNOVATIONLAB and SYSTECH and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project SaniUP – Stimulating local innovation on sanitation for the urban poor in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

Smart features
The eSOS emergency toilets are easily deployable in disaster areas because of their robust and light-weight specifications. The smart eSOS toilet includes some unique features in the prototype that will shed new light on how the toilets are used in emergencies. This includes remote-sensing monitoring, an energy supply unit, GSM/GPS sensor/card, occupancy sensors, urine/faeces accumulation sensor, an S.O.S. button, and a communication system that allows for data collection by remote sensing and their transfer to an on or off-site emergency coordination center. The data resulting from the use of the toilets will allow the toilets as well as the entire sanitation management chain to be improved.

Field testing
The eSOS toilet will be tested further in a refugee camp in the Philippines in September with support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Asian Development Bank. UNESCO-IHE PhD fellow Fiona Zakaria from Indonesia will carry out further experimental testing in cooperation with relief agencies on the ground. The eSOS smart toilet design prototype will be manufactured based on the results and feedback obtained from the experimental application.