An Emergency WASH update – new Sphere and UNHCR handbooks, recent research

Emergency WASH Google Group – October 31, 2018 Update


Draft 2 of the Sphere Handbook 2018 – Highlights of Draft 2 include: A new Delivering Through Markets annex covering Supply Chain Management and Cash-Based Assistance; New WASH standards on linkages to health for disease outbreaks and nutrition interventions.

The Sphere Handbook 2018 – The Sphere Handbook 2018 will be launched on 6 November 2018. New standards have also been developed, informed by recent practice and learning, such as WASH and healthcare settings in disease outbreaks, security of tenure in shelter and settlement, and palliative care in health. Different ways to deliver or enable assistance, including cash-based assistance, are also integrated into the Handbook.

UNHCR WASH Manual for Refugee Settings. UNHCR, September 2018. The manual outlines WASH guidelines that should be met in all refugee settings to provide an adequate level of basic WASH services for refugees. The manual discusses overarching principles that should be considered in all refugee WASH programs and provides an simple overview of WASH technical options that are suitable for refugee settings.

Too tough to scale? Challenges to scaling innovation in the humanitarian sector. Elrha, October 2018. Drawing from Elrha’s own experience in funding over 150 humanitarian organizations to develop, test and scale many highly impactful innovations, and research and experience from the social and development sectors, this report identifies 13 key barriers across five different challenge areas.

Female-friendly public and community toilets: a guide for planners and decision makers. WaterAid; WSUP; UNICEF, October 2018. The guide explains why toilets must be female-friendly, before detailing the essential and desirable features needed to make them so. The guide draws the recommendations and practical steps from existing literature, expert opinion and analysis of pioneering experiences from around the world.

Guidelines on sanitation and health. WHO, October 2018. The guidelines summarize the evidence on the links between sanitation and health, provide evidence-informed recommendations, and offer guidance for international, national and local sanitation policies and program actions.

Using innovation to break down barriers to handwashing in emergency settings. Elrha, October 2018.  Two years on, these innovations have refined their creations and have been testing them in humanitarian and emergency settings to gain vital insight into their use. Here’s a glimpse at these handwashing innovations and how they are helping.


A Multi-Criteria Assessment of Water Supply in Ugandan Refugee Settlements. Water, October 2018. Our study investigated the end-user water demand, the capital and operational costs, the carbon footprint, the freshwater availability and the risks surrounding water quality for several groundwater supply alternatives in Ugandan refugee settlements. We compared hand pumps, motorised pumps (solar, diesel and hybrid) and water trucking. The end-users’ survey highlighted the significant variability of water access.

Making the Case for a Female-Friendly Toilet. Water, September 2018. It is critical that a new norm be developed regarding the design of female-friendly toilets which better enables girls and women to feel confident, safe, and dignified while managing their daily sanitation needs.

Resurgence of infectious diseases due to forced migration: is planetary health and One Health action synergistic? Lancet Planetary Health, October 2018. The ongoing epidemic of a rare and controlled disease like diphtheria in Rohingya camps, in Bangladesh (figure), is a unique example of a public health disaster due to forced migration. Planetary health and One Health have approached the issue by working together as an interdisciplinary collaboration; which might be the best strategy in such conditions.

A review of potential factors contributing to epidemic cholera in Yemen. Journal of Water and Health, October 2018. The present review focuses on the current status of water, wastewater as well as solid waste management in Yemen and their roles in the outbreak of cholera. Future prospects for waste management have been proposed.

Does the Humanitarian Sector Use Evidence-informed Standards? A Review of the 2011 Sphere Indicators for Wash, Food Security and Nutrition, and Health Action. PLoS Current Disasters, October 2018. Twenty years after the first edition of the Handbook was developed, and in order to guide the 2018 revision, an assessment of the evidence base for current Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Food Security and Nutrition, and Health Action indicators, as compared to evidence collated by the 2015 LSHTM Humanitarian Health Evidence Review (HHER), was conducted.


West Africa’s Ebola outbreak cost $53 billion – study. Reuters, October 2018. An Ebola outbreak that ravaged Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia in 2014 cost economies an estimated $53 billion, according to a study in this month’s Journal of Infectious Diseases.

DR Congo Ebola death toll rises to 170. AFP, October 28, 2018. In mid-October, Congolese authorities said they were facing a “second wave” of the outbreak centered on Beni, a town in North Kivu province near the border with Uganda.

An Ebola outbreak presents a new mystery involving children. STAT, October 19, 2018. Typically young children don’t make up a big proportion of cases during an Ebola outbreak. But in the first two weeks of October, nearly 60 percent of the newly reported cases in and around Beni were children under the age of 16


Global WASH Cluster – The GWC’s vision is that increased coordination and response quality and capacity of national WASH coordination platforms will result in the improved relevance, quality, coverage and effectiveness of WASH assistance provided to people affected by emergencies.

Emergency & reconstruction situations: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance Working Group 8 – The objective of this working group is to combine the knowledge from experts in the fields of sanitation with the knowledge from experts in the field of emergency response and reconstruction.

Emergency WASH – This section of the USAID website has links to Emergency WASH groups and information.

Mum’s Magic Hands – Oxfam, Unilever’s Lifebuoy soap and Unilever’s Chief Sustainability Office have developed Mum’s Magic Hands, an interactive approach based on storytelling which uses field tested, emotional and health motivators to promote effective hand washing in communities affected by emergencies.

Wash’Em – A software-based decision-making tool that helps humanitarian actors design rapid, evidence-based and context-specific hygiene programs Find rapid assessment tools, learning modules and practitioner resource guides.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s