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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Emergencies

Published 10/05/2017 by Global Communities

Fact Sheet: WASH in Emergencies

Water is essential for a range of day-to-day human needs, including consumption, hygiene and irrigation. In developing countries where clean water may already be scarce, conflicts or natural disasters can devastate water and sanitation infrastructure, and reduce people’s abilities to access this key resource. As a result, contaminated water and poor quality sanitation services can increase the prevalence of diseases and deteriorate hygiene and productivity. Global Communities’ humanitarian Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) programs are designed to provide immediate access to clean water and sanitation facilities, while improving hygiene practices and laying the groundwork for longer-term, sustainable WASH solutions. As in all of our humanitarian activities, our WASH programming aims to meet the needs of the most vulnerable populations, who often suffer from the biggest adverse impacts of any conflict or disaster.

In volatile environments such as Syria and Yemen, we employ remote management and monitoring strategies through the use of electronic beneficiary registration cards, tablet-based data collection, GPS mapping, and tracking of water trucking and distribution points. These tools enable real-time status updates of all WASH services, as well as enabling us to pinpoint which families have benefitted from which services.

Global Communities’ WASH programming adheres to internationally recognized standards and best practices, ensuring that services are provided in line with the Do No Harm framework, Sphere standards, and humanitarian principles, and that services are of the highest quality. Our WASH programming aims to provide specialized services targeting the most vulnerable beneficiaries who cannot afford or physically do not have access to water or basic hygiene items, through activities such as provision of specially-designed hygiene kits for the elderly, disabled, pregnant women, and new mothers. Global Communities also rehabilitates or repairs water supply and sanitation systems and trains beneficiaries in their use, maintenance and oversight. Our programming includes simple picture-based hygiene promotion messaging to communicate proper WASH techniques.

As part of our humanitarian approach, Global Communities seeks to link our WASH activities with other humanitarian activities. For example, we incorporate hygiene information for children in schools into our Child Protection programming, and coordinate hygiene promotion campaigns with protection and other activities.
To read on about our WASH work in Emergencies, please read our fact sheet here.