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Hygiene Promotion and Community Mobilisation in Prolonged Encampments

In order to limit epidemics among displaced populations, it is crucial to educate people and provide them with sufficient resources to maintain and to improve their hygiene conditions. Hygiene promotion seeks to ensure the best use and the maximum benefit of the water, sanitation and hygiene-enabling facilities and services provided to refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the framework of WASH interventions and to maximise chances of dignity and well-being (CRONIN ET AL. 2008).

To implement water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions that effectively enhance and protect the public health among displaced populations in Prolonged Encampments, the The Sphere Project Standards provides the following Minimum Standards:  

  • SPHERE, Hygiene Promotion Standard 1: Hygiene promotion implementation.Affected men, women and children of all ages are aware of key public health risks and are mobilised to adopt measures to prevent the deterioration in hygienic conditions and to use and maintain the facilities provided.
  • SPHERE, Hygiene Promotion Standard 2: Identification and use of hygiene items. The affected population has access to and is involved in identifying and promoting the use of hygiene items to ensure personal hygiene, health, dignity and well-being.

In order to achieve the above-mentioned standards, hygiene promotion strategies in prolonged encampment settings should go beyond transmitting the basic messages provided in the emergency phase. In prolonged encampment situations, hygiene promotion activities should aim at achieving long-term behavioural change, which is based on a deep understanding of hygiene Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) of the beneficiaries. This requires improved targeting of beneficiaries, gender issue awareness and coordination with the partners, refugees and local authorities (EUROPEAN COMMISION 2014). Moreover, detailed epidemiological studies help demonstrating the cost-benefit payback of effective hygiene promotion (EUROPEAN COMMISION 2014).

Hygiene promotion in prolonged encampments should focus on reinforcing and correcting the implemented strategies in post-acute phase. The current strategy seeks to reinforce beneficiary participation and dignity as well as to achieve improvements on the personal, household and environment level, including long-lasting behaviour change.

The following guiding tools provide in-depth information on planning, facilitating and implementing hygiene promotion interventions in Prolonged Encampments

Library references

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Meeting the challenge of rapidly increasing humanitarian needs in WASH. DG ECHO Thematic Policy No.2

This thematic policy document provides information on meeting the challenges of rapidly increasing humanitarian needs. It provides information on basic principles of humanitarian response, emergency response and preparedness and response in acute, post-acute, protracted, and chronic crises, key determinants for interactions, guidance on coordination, advocacy, decision trees, and technical guidelines. It provides various insights on operations and maintenance planning for humanitarian crisis needs. The EC humanitarian WASH assistance follows the following objectives: 1) To ensure timely and dignified access to sufficient and safe WASH services for populations threatened by on-going, imminent or future humanitarian crises, and to increase their resilience to withstand water stress and shocks. 2) To implement measures to prevent the spread of WASH related diseases in populations threatened by on-going, imminent or future humanitarian crises. 3) To enhance the impact, relevance, efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of WASH assistance by strengthening the capacities of the humanitarian aid system, including its coordination mechanism.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION ; (2014): Brussels: European Commission URL [Accessed: 31.10.2016]

The Sphere Handbook

This appendix of SPHERE handbook is a water supply and sanitation initial needs assessment checklist. This list of questions is primarily for use to assess needs, identify indigenous resources and describe local conditions. It does not include questions to determine external resources needed in addition to those immediately and locally available.

THE SPHERE PROJECT ; (2011): Rugby: Practical Action Publishing URL [Accessed: 19.10.2016]

WASH in Camps

UNHCR ; (2015): UNHCR ; (2015): Emergency Handbook. Geneva: . URL [Accessed: 19.10.2016]

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