Category Archives: Emergency Sanitation

Recent Emergency WASH research | Upcoming webinars and training events


Water under fire volume 1: Emergencies, development and peace in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. UNICEF, August 2019. The report presents practical and evidence-based water and sanitation solutions that can be replicated and scaled up. It highlights the need for leadership to bring about immediate action to accelerate water and sanitation service delivery in fragile and conflict-affected contexts; prevent water-related tensions between groups and political entities; and ensure the right to water and sanitation for every child. emergencies

WELLSPRING: Source Water Resilience and Climate Adaptation. Nature Conservancy, August 2019. As the pace of climate change quickens, Source Water Protection is now also becoming a critical component to ensuring resilience. Climate change presents a new range of threats, drivers, and uncertainties in how we interact with freshwater ecosystems, but recently developed approaches to cope with climate impacts will ensure that source waters can survive — and thrive — into the future.

WHAT IF THE WATER WE USE AT NUTRITION CLINICS HAS THE POTENTIAL TO HARM? Elrha blog, 2019.  What the experience in Ethiopia showed us is that the silence around what constitutes “good enough” water for reconstituting therapeutic products can have potentially fatal consequences for the most vulnerable.

Young social entrepreneurs making waves with water-saving manual washing machine in IDP camps in Iraq. The Washing Machine Project, August 2019. In March 2019, Navjot Sawhney and Alex Hughes, both engineers and co-founders of the fledgling social enterprise The Washing Machine Project conducted research into clothes-washing habits across four IDP camps in Northern Iraq.

The Current Ebola Outbreak and the U.S. Role: An Explainer. KFF, August 2019. The major question for the U.S. government going forward is whether or not it will change its approach and engagement in the DRC in light of the PHEIC declaration and the lack of progress in interrupting transmission of the virus so far.

Urban humanitarian response. ODI, 2019. Chapter 4.4 discusses WASH issues. Included is an interesting section on Cash and WASH. As with other sectors, the use of cash in relation to WASH is increasingly resonating in urban emergencies.


A call to action for handwashing behavior change in emergencies – Resources: Resources include links to Mum’s Magic Hands Website and Mum’s Magic Hands: A field guide for rapid implementation of handwashing promotion in emergencies.

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Emergency WASH Biweekly Update, August 15, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

Below are recent Emergency WASH-related studies, reports and blog posts. We received a suggestion to include more general WASH-related research in the biweekly updates and CKM does distribute a Weekly WASH Research Update, August 12, 2019 so just let me know if you would like to subscribe to the weekly research updates.


Water as a Tool for Resilience in Times of Crisis – Water security professionals discussed the latest thinking about water’s impact on fragile regions in a recent panel discussion. The panel included Basil Mahayni of the USAID-funded Sustainable Water Partnership; Cynthia Brady, formerly of USAID; David De Armey of Water for Good, an international NGO; Abigail Jones of USAID; and Erika Weinthal of Duke University.


How to design handwashing facilities that change behavior. Wash’Em, August 2019. There are several reasons why handwashing facilities can have an important effect on behavior.

Emergency Environmental Health Forum 2019 report and presentations, August 2019. This event report covers the 9th Emergency Environmental Health Forum which was held on 17-18 June 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The theme of the conference was ‘Disease Outbreaks and Their Control’.

Guidance on market based programming for humanitarian WASH practitioners. Global WASH Cluster, 2019. How market based programming can complement and improve WASH programming; How to conduct a WASH market assessment

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Wash’Em – How to design handwashing facilities that change behaviour

How to design handwashing facilities that change behaviour. WASH’Em, August 2019.

In a crisis, humanitarians are often responsible for providing or repairing handwashing infrastructure for the affected population. This creates an opportunity for us to build infrastructure and provide products which encourage people to practice handwashing with soap. washem-logo

Why are handwashing facilities important?
Did you know that having a handwashing facility makes you 50% more likely to wash your hands? If it is conveniently placed near the toilet or kitchen and has soap and water available, then people are up to 80% more likely to practice handwashing.

There are several reasons why handwashing facilities can have an important effect on behaviour. Imagine you are leaving the toilet. If you see a handwashing facility, this is likely to act as a trigger, reminding you to wash your hands. If you don’t see a handwashing facility you might get distracted with other things and forget to wash hands.

Even if you did want to wash your hands where there was no handwashing facility present, you would probably have to go to a lot more effort to walk to somewhere that has soap and water. In the process you may touch and contaminate lots of other

Often the level of effort required would act as a barrier to regular handwashing.
As humanitarians it is unethical and a waste of resources to do hygiene promotion if handwashing facilities, soap and water are not readily available to the population. In the acute phase of a crisis, handwashing infrastructure and products must be our first priority.

Emergency Environmental Health Forum 2019 report and presentations

Emergency Environmental Health Forum 2019 Report

  • Acknowledgements
  • Executive Summary eehh
  • Opening address
  • Key Note Speech: Disease outbreaks and their control
  • Panel Discussion: Capacity of the WASH Sector in epidemic and pandemic response
  • Plenary 1: Cholera – prevention and preparedness
  • Plenary 2: Handwashing, acceptability of interventions and community engagement
  • Plenary 3: Cholera – control and containment of outbreaks
  • Plenary 4: Hepatitis E and vector control
  • Plenary 5: Faecal sludge management and sanitation
    Plenary 6: Household water treatment and safe storage

Emergency Environmental Health Forum 2019 Presentations

Humanitarian WASH presentations at World Water Week 2019

SIWI has prepared a useful 205 page report that contains a compilation of the oral and written scientific presentations that have been chosen for this year’s seminars and the link is:

Below are highlights and conclusions from 9 presentations that discuss humanitarian WASH-related issues. Just go to the page number to see the complete abstract and additional information about the author. emergencies

Page 65 – Business innovations in sanitation for refugee settlements in East Africa
Authors: Dr. Miriam Otoo, International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka

The paper shows that different waste-reuse business models have great potential to support the provision of sustainable sanitation service delivery and improve livelihoods of refugee communities, by using generated revenues from recovered resources to bridge financial gaps and complement other supporting mechanisms for waste management, and catalyzing small business creation.

Conclusions and recommendations: Market-driven mechanisms are increasingly being adopted in the sanitation sector to catalyze higher degrees of cost recovery or profit generating to better deliver waste management services, and this applies to refugee settlements and rural host communities. Resource recovery and reuse of waste has an important role to play in the provision of sustainable sanitation service delivery, however limited to no cultural acceptance of production practices and end-use of recovered resources from human waste can hinder business creation in the sector. Capacity development that directly engages both refugee and host communities will be critical to mitigate the effects of these barriers

Page 107 – Water and sanitation, migration and the 2030 Agenda
Authors: Dr. Guy Jobbins, Overseas Development Institute, United Kingdom

This briefing explores the relationships between water, sanitation and migration, and how they may affect the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, we discuss the fact that while water and sanitation do not appear to drive migration, the process of migration can radically shape access to water and sanitation services – particularly for undocumented migrants and people in transit. We question whether attaining universal access to safely managed water and sanitation services is possible without specific measures to address the needs of refugees and other migrants.

Conclusions and recommendations: 1) Migration isn’t driven by a lack of water and sanitation services, but governments which provide services can support successful migration. 108 2) Achieving universal WASH access will not be possible unless all people have access to water and sanitation services, regardless of their migratory status. 3) Challenges stem from failures in governance, not the amount of water available, numbers of migrants or rates of migration; strengthened water governance can help better cope with the impacts of migration. 4) The poor visibility of migrants in data limits understanding of their needs and reduces the accountability of governments and service providers.

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Young social entrepreneurs making waves with water-saving manual washing machine in IDP camps in Iraq

Young social entrepreneurs making waves with water-saving manual washing machine in IDP camps in IraqThe Washing Machine Project

In March 2019, Navjot Sawhney and Alex Hughes, both engineers and co-founders of the fledgling social enterprise The Washing Machine Project conducted research into clothes-washing habits across four IDP camps in Northern Iraq. Only 40% of IDPs living in the camps had access to an electric washing machine, meaning the majority of families still wash their clothes by hand. SONY DSC

In fact, of the 79 Yazidi families interviewed during their research in Chameskyu, Esyan, Shekhan, and Kanke camps, Sawhney and Hughes found that each family typically spends more than 12 hours a week hand washing clothes.

Many women also reported using chlorine or other chemical detergents to kill water-based bacteria with the aim of keeping their children safe, but suffered from skin irritation on their hands and arms as a result.

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A Webliography on the Use of PeePoo Bags in Humanitarian Situations

Dear Colleagues:

We have started this webliography in response to an information request so please let us know if you have additional studies or resources to add: peepoo

A Webliography on the Use of PeePoo Bags in Humanitarian Situations, draft – August 2, 2019

PeePoo Bags in Humanitarian Situations

Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies, 2nd Edition. EAWAG, 2016. Page 166 – The challenge, as with other mobile/container based sanitation technologies, is the effective management of collecting and composting the bags. The Peepoo bag has been extensively used in Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, and Bangladesh, among other places.

What Potential is there for Container Based Sanitation and the Social Enterprise in Urban Emergencies? HIF, December 2016. Bag based systems are gaining greater acceptance as a practical response during the initial onset phase of an urban emergency – usually for the first four to eight weeks. This response has tended to see the use of PeePoo bags alone or in combination with ordinary plastic bags (often used by residents as their own solution to the lack of sanitation). The benefits of this technology are in its speed of deployment – enabling safe excreta disposal from the very earliest opportunity and its flexibility which is created by not needing permanent structures in the ground thus enabling neighborhood approaches as well as camp settings.

Mapping Sanitation Solutions. SHARE, 2014. Pages 28 and 29 discuss the PeePoo system. Peepoo is developed and patented by Peepoople AB, a Swedish for-profit company, which aims to enable access to dignified and hygienic sanitation to everyone. Peepoople AB has further developed the “Peepoople Humanitarian Response Model” for use in emergency aid operations.

The Use of Poo Bags for Safe Excreta Disposal in Emergency Settings. OXFAM, 2010. This Technical Briefing Note examines the use of poo bags for safe excreta containment and disposal in urban emergency settings. The Brief also explores ways of building more complete excreta management systems to ensure not only safe disposal, but also to ensure the dignity and safety of users.

End Project Evaluation Peepoo sanitation solution for Pakistan monsoon floods. Peepoople and UN Habitat, 2013. Peepoo provides a safe collection and disposal of human excreta while protecting the hygiene conditions. This intervention can be scaled up in the flood emergency situation in Pakistan and other places provided that effective social mobilization is enacted

Human waste management in first phase response, protecting ground water and human health: a case study from Haiyan 2013. WEDC Conference, 2014. This briefing paper presents a case study of a Peepoo implementation in first phase humanitarian response. The case is taken from the Philippines, post typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and aims to demonstrate a safe way of handling of human waste without risking the contamination of water.

Compendium of WASH in Schools Facilities in Emergencies. UNICEF, 2012. Peepoo bags have a low cost per bag, but other costs – such as containment barrels – must be included in the total expense. Although the Peepoo system costs are quite high when examined closely, they offer quick facility provision, at scale, provision, that cannot be matched by constructing latrines.

Excreta disposal in emergencies: Bag and Peepoo trials with internally displaced people in Port-au-Prince. Waterlines, December 2012. To mainstream innovative approaches to sanitation within the realities of urban humanitarian response, Oxfam GB undertook a trial from April to May 2010, of standard bag and Peepoo excreta disposal systems in two IDP settlements. Trial results demonstrate that with proper collection and removal, both bags and Peepoos are viable excreta disposal options in emergencies.

Other Studies/Reports

Peepoo: a poor – inclusive leapfrog sanitation solution? Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, May 2019. This research project studies the Peepoo sanitation system, a possible leapfrog technology to reach poor people, living in settings with extreme population densities and lack of infrastructure. This research aims to optimize microbial safety of Peepoo reuse chain, when operating at large scale in Kibera, Nairobi urban slum, Kenya.

Faecal sludge management: The PeePoo business model and value chain A successful full sanitation solution for urban slums. SIMAVI, 2014. Preparing the market and creating demand for a push product like Peepoo requires substantial investment in education and promotion to succeed, and takes much longer time than predicted.

Urban slum dwellers in Kenya and Bangladesh benefit from using Peepoo bags which are self-sanitizing and biodegradable. GTZ, 2010. Both studies found a very high level of user acceptance with a multitude of perceived benefits. The greatest benefit reported by users in Mymensingh (28%) was the possibility to go to the toilet more frequently, instead of having to restrain themselves for lack of access to a safe and hygienic toilet facility (even more important for females). The results provide an outlook for future use of the Peepoo bags in urban slums and for other emergency situations.

Impact assessment report on the PeePoo bag, Silanga village, Kibera, Nairobi-Kenya. GTZ, 2009. The primary objective of this study is to find out if the Peepoo bag meets the objectives, expectations and perceptions of beneficiaries/end users in meeting their sanitation needs and demands, and if the product is designed in such a way that it not only biodegradable but economically viable in terms of generating organic manure for sale.