For people affected by disaster, whether wars, earthquakes, or disease epidemics, conditions of life can change suddenly and in ways that require rapid adjustments. Often, adaptation includes taking greater care to prevent transmission of disease, in order to minimize the new threats to public health.
The humanitarian sector has been strengthening its focus on and commitment to community-centred responses in recent years. This guide aims to provide field staff with clear, accessible guidance on the principles and practice of community engagement in WASH programmes. The content has been field tested in a variety of contexts.
Social and feminist design in emergency contexts: the Women’s Social Architecture Project, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
The rapid influx of Rohingya refugees into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, has led to the formation of huge camps, built on difficult terrain, short of space and with high population density. All these factors present numerous challenges to agencies seeking to provide latrines, water points, and bathing facilities. Feedback gathered from women and girls highlighted significant challenges around access, safety, privacy, and dignity, including management of personal hygiene and menstruation.
Within Oxfam, we continue to question how we could have better integrated gender equality in the Ebola response, and how to improve our gender mainstreaming in future emergencies. Why did gender mainstreaming in the Ebola response prove particularly challenging? How did the Ebola response differ from previous emergencies? What did we need to know to improve our response to the outbreak? Are there new ways in which we should approach gender mainstreaming? What lessons have we learned that we can carry forward in our work?
Assessing emotional motivators for handwashing with soap in emergencies: results from three Asian countries
This paper examines how emotional motivators can be used to promote handwashing with soap (HWWS) among mothers affected by an emergency. The impact of using emotional motivators along with other behaviour determinants for behaviour change in development settings has been well documented; however there is limited evidence for the use of motives for HWWS in emergency contexts.
The world is witnessing the highest levels of forced human displacement on record, leading to people being housed in urban centres and camps. Generally the sanitation needs of these people are initially met by external agencies. The long-term costs of operating and maintaining traditional sanitation systems can be unviable when communities or local authorities take over their management. Therefore Oxfam has been trialling the Tiger Worm Toilet (TWT) in peri-urban and camp settings.
The performance and acceptability of the Nerox™ membrane drinking water filter were evaluated among an internally displaced population in Pakistan. The membrane filter and a control ceramic candle filter were distributed to over 3,000 households. Following a 6-month period, 230 households still had a functioning filter, and the removal performance ranged from 80 to 93%.
Innovative designs and approaches in sanitation when responding to challenging and complex humanitarian contexts in urban areas
As recent emergencies have shown, there are still significant challenges in the timely provision of safe sanitation in natural disasters or conflict situations. In urban emergencies or areas where it is impossible to dig simple pit latrines because of high water tables, hard rock, or lack of permission, it takes agencies considerable time to construct elevated latrines or alternative designs such as urine diversion toilets.