Category Archives: Emergency Sanitation

Emergency WASH biweekly update, July 16, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

Please see the note below from Tom Corellis and be sure to check out the website he refers to. We have been asked to compile biweekly updates on specific Emergency WASH topics and issues so starting with this update, the first biweekly update each month will be a webliography of the most recent Emergency WASH studies, reports, resources, etc. The second monthly biweekly update will focus on a specific Emergency WASH topic. We have listed some possible topics below and welcome your suggestions.

Member Update


Tom Corellis, – Colleagues, Shelter Centre, which I direct, is a long-standing global partner of the WASH Cluster and developed with OFDA support To our knowledge, this contains one of the largest collections on WASH. It is crowd-sourced and community moderated, meaning your members can share knowledge onto it and collate that knowledge into collections useful to their work. We have WASH interns working around the world adding to their Collections.

Recent Journal Articles

The link between mental health and safe drinking water behaviors in a vulnerable population in rural Malawi. BMC Psychology, July 8. This research is especially relevant in emergency contexts, as it indicates that mental health measures before any WASH interventions will make them more effective.


Cholera prevention and control in refugee settings: Successes and continued challenges. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2019 Jun. Cholera continues to be a significant problem in humanitarian settings, with recent outbreaks in displaced populations in South Sudan, Yemen, Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Haiti, and Iraq. The success of cholera prevention and control in refugee camps over the past 2 decades highlights the possibility of managing this deadly disease, even in complicated humanitarian crises.

Residual Maintenance Using Sodium Hypochlorite, Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate, and Chlorine Dioxide in Laboratory Waters of Varying Turbidity. Special Issue – Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Humanitarian Contexts, June 2019. Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC) are commonly used for household water treatment (HWT); chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is a potential new HWT option.

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July 16, 2019 – Webinar on Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies Toolkit

July 16, 2019 Webinar on Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies Toolkit

  • Organized by Columbia University , International Rescue Committee (IRC)
  • 12:00pm — 1:00pm mhday

Please join us for a webinar on the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies Toolkit. Feel free to invite any colleagues who may be interested in this event!

Discussion topics include:

  • Conducting a rapid MHM assessment
  • Sector responsibilities on MHM (WASH, Protection, Shelter, Health, Education, Camp Management)
  • Monitoring & evaluating MHM activities
  • Key findings from ongoing implementation and research

Additional info and registration

Emergency WASH update – recent webinars and research

If you and your organization would be interested in collaborating with the USAID CKM project on organizing an Emergency WASH-related webinar or Water Currents enewsletter, please let us know. emergencies

These links give examples of CKM webinars and the enewsletter issues. Also, please share any recent studies, reports or upcoming events by your organization that can be featured in the Emergency WASH updates.


Water as a Tool for Resilience in Times of Crisis. In this webinar, the Environmental Change and Security Program, USAID’s Sustainable Water Partnership, and Winrock International hold a discussion on where the challenges lie and what practitioners and policymakers can do to bolster effective water management for the world’s most vulnerable communities.


Rapid Review of Disability and Older Age Inclusion in Humanitarian WASH Interventions. Elrha, May 2019. The information presented in this review intended to provide an overview of the level of disability and older age inclusion in WASH interventions in humanitarian action. The review highlighted important gaps in available literature on inclusive WASH interventions in humanitarian contexts.

Rethinking Faecal Sludge Management in Emergency Settings: Decision Support Tools and Smart Technology Applications for Emergency Sanitation. CRC Press / Balkema – Taylor & Francis Group, June 2019. This study focused on the development of a smart emergency toilet termed the eSOS (emergency sanitation operation system) smart toilet to address the limitation in technical options. This toilet is based on the eSOS concept that takes into account the entire sanitation chain, which is the required processing of human excreta from toilet until safe disposal (downstream process).


Barriers and Facilitators to Chlorine Tablet Distribution and Use in Emergencies: A Qualitative Assessment. Water, May 29, 2019. We found: (1) chlorine tablets are regarded as one of the most effective water treatment methods and are often considered appropriate in emergency response, (2) dosing confusion and taste and odor rejection are perceived as the main problems limiting effectiveness, and (3) the primary solutions suggested for these problems were social and behavioral.

The Impact of Various Promotional Activities on Ebola Prevention Behaviors and Psychosocial Factors Predicting Ebola Prevention Behaviors in the Gambia Evaluation of Ebola Prevention Promotions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, June 2019. Three promotional activities were significantly associated with psychosocial factors of handwashing and, thus, with increased handwashing behavior: the home visit, posters, and info sheets. Health behavior change programs should rely on evidence to target the right psychosocial factors and to maximize their effects on prevention behaviors, especially in emergency contexts.

Evaluation of an Emergency Bulk Chlorination Project Targeting Drinking Water Vendors in Cholera-Affected Wards of Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, Tanzania. The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, June 2019. The results from this evaluation indicate that bulk chlorination targeting medium- to large-volume water suppliers such as water vendors could be a feasible mechanism to address chlorination gaps at the community level during emergencies and disease outbreaks.

Drinking water quality and human dimensions of cholera patients to inform evidence-based prevention investment in Karonga District, Malawi. Water Supply, June 2019. The cost of a reactive response to cholera outbreaks puts a burden on Malawi, providing an opportunity for investment in innovative and localized preventive strategies to control and eliminate the risk of cholera while acknowledging social and cultural norms.


WASH in Urban Emergencies (Online Course), summer 2019 by RedR UK – The WASH in Urban Emergencies course will equip experienced WASH humanitarians with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively work in the early stages of an urban emergency, and to identify the unique challenges of working in urban environments.

Climate Fragility Risks (CFR) In Development Sectors: Six Principles for Managing Synergies and Trade-Offs. United Nations University, May 2019. This document proposes six principles to manage CFRs in key development sectors, namely (1) implement interdisciplinary approach, (2) focus on vulnerable groups, (3) promote preventive and adaptive measures, (4) enhance inclusive and participatory governance, (5) allocate and manage finances for CFR effectively and efficiently, and (6) build resilient and green infrastructure.

Reducing Protracted Internal Displacement: A Snapshot of Successful Humanitarian-Development Initiatives. OCHA, June 2019.  While each situation is unique and requires tailored solutions, this paper offers valuable insights on how to best combine short- and long-term initiatives of international organizations, local partners and governments, while taking into account the needs of IDPs and host communities as well as market forces.

USAID news – The second round of the Humanitarian Grand Challenge is now open!

USAID news – The second round of the Humanitarian Grand Challenge is now open!

The second round call for proposals is now open! Final proposals are due on Tuesday 16 July 2019 at 11:00am ET. Visit the RFP section for detailed information on how to apply.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, the UK Department for International Development, the Government of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with support from Grand Challenges Canada, are partnering on Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge. toilets

Through this Grand Challenge, we will identify and support groundbreaking solutions that engage the private sector and draw from the experiences of affected communities in order to significantly improve – and in many cases, save – the lives of vulnerable people affected by conflict.

WASH Innovators

Machine Learning Enabled Safe Water Optimization Tool for Humanitarian Response – by the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, York University. This project aims to build a novel safe water optimization tool, that leverages cloud computing and artificial intelligence to learn from the water quality monitoring data that humanitarian agencies already routinely collect for reporting purposes.

Solar-Powered Water Pumps for Regenerative Agriculture – by The Rainmaker Enterprise. The Rainmaker Enterprise’s innovation involves Installing solar powered water pumps and sensor-driven drip irrigation systems in villages across South Sudan.

Portable, Evaporative Toilets for Drop-In and Distributed Sanitation for Displaced and Urban Communities – by change:WATER Labs Inc. change:WATER Labs Inc. is developing a portable evaporative toilet to extend safe, private sanitation to homes with no power or plumbing. It evaporates more than 95 percent of daily household sewage without added energy or heat.

Water Aid and Renewable Power Systems for Yemen – by the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation. This project aims to bring solar powered water purification systems to three sites in Yemen. The project will install 4,000 watts of compact, flexible, adhesive solar panels with a battery bank to power a compact, robust, simple-to-use, and highly effective water purification system that can produce more than 1,000 gallons of clean drinking water per day, serving about 1,000 people in each community.

PathVis: A Water Monitoring Device for Vibrio cholerae Detection – by OmniVis. OmniVis has designed a smartphone platform diagnostic device that uses DNA amplification to detect for V. cholerae, at the source, in under 30 minutes. The data is immediately uploaded to a cloud-based server to automate the data logging process. In areas without connectivity, wifi can be used in a central location for data upload. OmniVis is the first and only water-based V. cholerae detection device that automates data logging with time-stamped, geographical location information.


Menstrual hygiene management in humanitarian situations

May 28, 2019 is Menstrual Hygiene Day and below are excerpts from the May 23, 2019 issue of Water Currents: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 on menstrual hygiene management in humanitarian situations.

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 – This global advocacy platform for MH Day brings together the voices and actions of nonprofits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector, and the media to promote MHM for all women and girls. This website contains campaign materials for this year’s theme—It’s Time for Action—and a list of events and resources. mhday2019

WASH Innovation Challenge on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and Incontinence – Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund is launching a challenge May 23, 2019, and will be seeking innovative projects exploring how to design safe and dignified MHM spaces in emergency camp settings and how to better engage with and understand the needs of people with incontinence in emergencies. We will especially welcome applications from broad partnerships that include NGOs as well as designers, academic institutions and local organisations, and we expect that any approach would take a participatory and user-centred approach to developing the innovation. Additional information will soon be posted on the Elrha’s website. You can also get in touch with Cecilie Hestbaek,, and Sophie Van Eetvelt,, for more information and advice on how to prepare for the call.

MHM and Humanitarian Situations
Pilot Study Findings on the Provision of Hygiene Kits with Reusable Sanitary PadsUnited Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), December 2018. In collaboration with AFRIpads, UNHCR Sub-Office Mbarara implemented a three-month pilot intervention to test the acceptability of introducing reusable sanitary pads to schoolgirls in the refugee context.

Periods Don’t Stop in Emergencies: Addressing the Menstrual Hygiene Needs of Women and GirlsHumanitarian Innovation Fund, August 2018. This article discusses the challenges that women and girls face around menstrual hygiene in emergencies.

Exploring Menstrual Practices and Potential Acceptability of Reusable Menstrual Underwear among a Middle Eastern Population Living in a Refugee SettingInternational Journal of Women’s Health, July 2018. Primary data analysis of narratives around the beliefs, behaviors, and practices of menstrual hygiene in this population revealed key themes related to the physical environment; the social environment; cleanliness, comfort, and health; and adaptation and coping.

Pilot Testing and Evaluation of a Toolkit for Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies in Three Refugee Camps in Northwest TanzaniaJournal for International Humanitarian Action, June 2018.  This paper describes the development and pilot testing of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies Toolkit in three camps hosting Burundian and Congolese refugees in northwest Tanzania.

Improving Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergency Contexts: Literature Review of Current PerspectivesInternational Journal of Women’s Health, April 2018. The objective of this review was to collate, summarize, and appraise existing peer-reviewed and gray literature that describes the current scenario of MHM in emergency contexts to understand the breadth and depth of current policies, guidelines, empirical research, and humanitarian aid activities addressing populations’ menstrual needs.

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies ToolkitColumbia University Mailman School of Public HealthInternational Rescue Committee, 2017. The toolkit provides streamlined guidance to support organizations and agencies seeking to rapidly integrate MHM into existing programming across sectors and phases.

MHM and Waste Disposal
Menstrual Hygiene Management and Waste Disposal in Low and Middle Income Countries—A Review of the LiteratureInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, November 2018. A literature review showed that MHM and sanitation value chains often neglect the disposal of menstrual waste, leading to improper disposal and negative impacts on users, sanitation systems, and the environment.

Menstrual Hygiene, Management, and Waste Disposal: Practices and Challenges Faced by Girls/Women of Developing Countries. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, February 2018. At home, women dispose of menstrual products with other domestic waste. Outside of the home, they often flush them in public toilets without knowing the consequences of choking sewer pipelines.

Menstrual Waste Management: A Simple GuideMinistry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, 2019. This guide discusses composting and small-scale incineration of disposed menstrual hygiene products.

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An Emergency WASH Update – May 15, 2019


OFDA Meet Our Experts – Trevor White. OFDA, May 7, 2019. Trevor White is a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Advisor at USAID/OFDA. As part of the USAID/OFDA WASH team, Trevor provides support at the country level during natural disasters and conflicts, but also at a global level to support efforts to improve the quality of future WASH responses. emergencies


Cash transfers can help Yemen’s conflict-affected children. IFPRI Blog, May 6, 2019. As a result, the transfers helped preserve children’s dietary diversity in critical early developmental stages 6-23 months. The program also led to improved breastfeeding and water treatment practices, which further enhanced the nutritional environment.


Efficacy of the SuperTowel: An Alternative Hand-washing Product for Humanitarian Emergencies. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, May 2019. Given that the ST is more lightweight than soap and longer lasting, we envisage that the ST would also be beneficial to humanitarian actors working in areas where logistical and security issues make regular hygiene product distribution challenging. We recommend that further testing should be carried out to assess the efficacy of the ST under conditions that more closely mirror real-world hand-washing practices.


Urban WASH programming in Protracted Conflict Contexts: Aleppo’s Experience, Syria. UNICEF, March 2019. The focus of this Field Note is Syria’s urban WASH programme, documenting the experience in implementing WASH in a city which has endured years of protracted conflict, and is designed as a learning note for the organization as it strengthens its role in urban areas.

Private Sector & Refugees—Pathways to Scale. IFC, 2019. Multinational corporations like Mastercard, regional and national businesses such as Equity Bank and PowerGen, social enterprises like NaTakallam and Sanivation, and a range of others across industries, are demonstrating the potential roles of the private sector in supporting refugees and host communities.

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Emergency WASH – recent research & upcoming events


User-Centred Design,(UCD) and Humanitarian Adaptiveness. ALNAP, April 2019.
This case study seeks to explore the utility, applicability and effectiveness of UCD in supporting humanitarian adaptiveness, and to understand whether UCD can enable humanitarian actors to be more adaptive. Chapter 4 gives examples of applying UCD in the design of emergency sanitation. 

Cesspits and Soakpits. Global Water Pathogen Project, March 2019.
A soak pit is a covered, porous-walled chamber that allows water to slowly soak into the ground. A cesspit (cesspool) is a holding tank (or pit) designed for collection and storage of sewage or other waste for short periods.

Emergency Sanitation Guidelines Beira, updated on the 11th of April 2019. WASH Cluster Mozambique, April 2019.
The objective of this document is to provide technical guidance to partners implementing sanitation emergency programs and interventions in settlements. This document has been prepared by the Sanitation Technical Working Group, under the WASH cluster Beira. emergencies

No Time to Wait: Securing the future from drug-resistant infections. WHO, April 2019.
“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats we face as a global community. This report reflects the depth and scope of the response needed to curb its rise and protect a century of progress in health,” said Ms. Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Co-Chair of the IACG.


Humanitarian WASH Innovation. Elhra, April 2019. 31 videos discuss and describe a wide range of WASH innovations in humanitarian situations.


Community Engagement in WASH Emergencies: Understanding Barriers and Enablers Based on Action Research from Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Water, April 2019.
This article presents key findings from Oxfam’s recent responses in Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), describing the process of building trust and identifying barriers and enablers to meaningful CE in emergencies.

Evaluation of an Emergency Bulk Chlorination Project Targeting Drinking Water Vendors in Cholera-Affected Wards of Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, Tanzania. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, April 2019.
The results suggest high acceptability and use of the chlorine tablets by water vendors. However, given variation in the water source used and longer storage times, dosing could be increased in future programming. Bulk chlorination using chlorine tablets offers an efficient community-level approach to treating water closer to the point of use.

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