Children under 18 can represent 50% or more of a crisis-affected population. While existing emergency WASH literature often refers to the hardware requirements of children, particularly to excreta disposal options, it almost never takes into account the needs of children of different ages and more often provides very superficial information. Similarly, literature on hygiene promotion focuses on primary school age children; meanwhile case studies and examples from the field of how to adapt WASH programmes to suit children's needs are also very limited. Children of different ages require very different approaches: children under five are the most vulnerable to water-related diseases, yet most emergency WASH programmes consider primary school age children, neglecting both teenagers and younger children. Save the Children UK was funded by Humanitarian Innovation Fund to research how the WASH sector was currently responding to the needs of children and what guidance was available, in order to identify best practice and make recommendations for further research and development. The field work and questionnaires showed that the problem is representative of the difficulty of responding to so many demands in an emergency response, lack of confidence on the part of practitioners, and lack of readily available resources. While some solutions will need to be child-focused, it seems preferable to consider how to ensure social inclusion for all affected population groups, as well as children.
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