Fragility has become the reality in several countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Armed conflict and forced displacement are taking an enormous toll on human lives, with the region accounting for about 60 percent of the estimated global total of battle-related casualties since the turn of the millennium. The fragility of these countries compound the region's water problems.
This paper describes the potential of ecological sanitation (ecosan), and in particular of urine-diversion dehydrating (UDD) toilets, to provide sustainable excreta disposal in emergency situations in low-income countries. Three case studies of emergency sanitation were analysed: El Salvador (hurricane), Afghanistan (civil war) and Pakistan (earthquake). The analysis of these case studies has shown that the systems implemented in the long-term phase of the emergency were sometimes more sustainable than what was in place before the emergency occurred.
This paper shares the experience of Action Against Hunger in Pakistan to look for solutions to help women address their individual needs for defecation and menstruation. Displaced and host families are supported by a traditional emergency water, sanitation and hygiene response, but cultural norms and availability of facilities were hiding the specific issues faced by women. The project combined discussion platforms for both women and men, awareness about sanitation risks, and provision of individual items for safer management of sanitary concerns.
Mainstreaming gender in an emergency water and sanitation (WatSan) response can be difficult as standard consultations and participation processes take too much time. To facilitate a rapid response that includes women's needs, a simple Gender and Sanitation Tool has been developed that can also be used by less experienced staff. The tool is a step-by-step guide on how to collect required data to define design parameters for sanitation facilities, based on ad hoc consultations with women who will be their users.
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%.
Effective menstrual management is essential for the mental and physical well-being of women. However, many women in low-income countries lack access to the materials and facilities required. They are thus restricted in their activities whilst menstruating thus compromising their education, income and domestic responsibilities. The paper aims to discuss these issues. This study describes the menstrual management challenges faced by women in an emergency situation in Uganda.
The water supply of the rural coastal areas in Sri Lanka is provided by private open dug wells, most of which have been flooded by sea water during the tsunami. The salinity of the well affected proved not to be the main problem, and early attempts to rehabilitate wells failed. Salinity reduction can only be achieved naturally, through the recharge of the aquifer. The true challenge for rural water supply is represented by bacteriological and agricultural contamination and sustainability of handpumps.
Refugee populations often flee with very little belongings and lack appropriate hygiene infrastructure in an environment that is unfamiliar to them. For women and girls, this also means that it is more difficult for them to have menstrual hygiene management (MHM). MHM is important in emergencies because it reduces the risk of infection to girls and women, provides empowerment to engage in activities and survival during emergencies, and the provision of safe facilities reduces risk of sexual abuse.
Working with Markets and the local Government while responding to the WASH needs of the Syrian crisis
This briefing paper focuses on WASH during the Syrian Refugee Crisis with a focus on responses in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and how Oxfam's WASH responses have evolved overtime. Responses started with typical distribution assistance, to examining the opportunities stemming from the local market with a WASH lens while incorporating the challenges of working in Syria.
This article presents the experience of using the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach in a recent programme in Somalia and explains some of the adaptations that were necessary to adjust to the specifics of a fragile and insecure context. The article goes on to explore the applicability of CLTS in fragile and insecure contexts more generally, using examples from South Sudan, Chad, and Afghanistan, and argues that in some ways it is an ideal approach for overcoming some of the challenges of working in these areas.