Kabul and Monrovia, the respective capitals of Afghanistan and Liberia, have recently emerged from long-lasting armed conflicts. In both cities, a large number of organisations took part in emergency water supply provision and later in the rehabilitation of water systems. Based on field research, this paper establishes a parallel between the operations carried out in the two settings, highlighting similarities and analysing the two most common strategies.
Lighting the Way: Lighting, sanitation and the risk of gender-based violence Omugo extension camp, Uganda
Humanitarian agencies strive to provide sanitation facilities which are safe, accessible and afford users privacy and dignity. Yet in reality, women in particular have many concerns which can prevent them from using the facilities, especially after dark. This report documents field research on whether sanitation lighting reduces risks of gender-based violence in Omugo Extension Camp in northern Uganda.
Humanitarian agencies strive to provide sanitation facilities which are safe, accessible and afford users privacy and dignity. Yet in reality, women in particular have many concerns which can prevent them from using the facilities, especially after dark. This report documents field research on whether sanitation lighting reduces risks of gender- based violence in Aburi camp in Nigeria.
A Shining Light: How lighting in or around sanitation facilities affects the risk of gender-based violence in camps
Camps are places of refuge for people fleeing conflict and disaster, but they can be dangerous, especially for women and girls. In their first months, many camps rely on communal sanitation facilities – a quick and cost-effective way of meeting immediate needs and minimizing public health risks until a better solution can be developed. Sharing latrines and bathing areas with large numbers of strangers, however, can be frightening.
Poor lighting at water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities may reduce the usage of latrines and other services such as bathing areas and water collection points; especially by women and children. Generally, poor lighting may contribute to fear of crime and specifically Gender-Based Violence (GBV), which may, in turn, further reduce the use of the WASH facilities. For example, in Haiti, teenage girls surveyed by the United Nations (UN) Stabilisation Mission stated that they were afraid to use latrines at night because of the lack of lighting (Emery et al., 2011).
In the Humanitarian Innovation Fund Gap Analysis for water, sanitation, and hygiene issues, field staff identified environmental management of surface water as an area of concern, although this was not reflected at a head office level. This difference of perspectives could be an under-reporting of this aspect of environmental sanitation to the global humanitarian community or a failure of experts to communicate the required response to surface water management in camps for displaced people.
Pit latrine linings for emergency sanitation facilities require different performance criteria from those for pits used in longer-term development work. Various international initiatives are currently under way to develop new methods of supporting the pits used for latrines in emergencies, but before a solution can be found, the problem needs to be defined. Current field guidance lacks the level of detail required by humanitarian workers to construct durable pits in a timely manner.
Recent systematic reviews have highlighted a paucity of rigorous evidence to guide water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions in humanitarian crises. In June 2017, the Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme of Elrha, convened a meeting of representatives from international response agencies, research institutions and donor organisations active in the field of humanitarian WASH to identify research priorities, discuss challenges conducting research and to establish next steps.
When the Asian tsunami struck the Andaman Islands, nearly 7,000 people were relocated in six camps. In spite of the large number of bathing and sanitation facilities built, water and sanitation conditions remained unsatisfactory in four of the camps. The facilities had been constructed without consulting their users.