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Humanitarian Crises Perspective

Humanitarian Crises Perspective

Discover tools and approaches that help you promote sustainable sanitation and water management in humanitarian crises settings.

The Humanitarian Crisis Perspective to Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management is a key English-Arabic knowledge platform for practitioners involved in water, sanitation or hygiene-promotion activities in humanitarian crises, with a special focus on the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region. It compiles over 170 factsheets of the SSWM Toolbox relevant to the context and includes more than 40 purposefully developed contents. It covers both hardware and software approaches and aims to support practitioners in planning, implementing and sustaining water, sanitation and hygiene promotion interventions in different settings of humanitarian intervention (such as Camps, Prolonged Encampments, Rural Settings and Urban Settings).


This section provides you with important background information sustainable sanitation and water management in humanitarian crises. It includes an…
3 Factsheets
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The term camp refers to a form of settlement in which refugees or Internally Displaced People (IDPs) reside and receive protection, humanitarian…
108 Factsheets
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Prolonged Encampments

Although there is a common perception that refugee situations are a temporary phenomenon, it has become clear that protracted refugee situations are…
125 Factsheets
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Urban Settings

At the end of 2015, about six out of ten refugees lived in urban areas. Refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) move to cities in hope for…
113 Factsheets
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Rural Settings

Rural communities commonly depend more on agricultural or pastoral livelihoods than their urban counterparts and usually have less access to…
110 Factsheets
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Application of Stored Urine

Stored urine is a concentrated source of nutrients that can be applied as a liquid fertilizer in agriculture and replace all or some commercial…

Urine Fertilisation (Large-scale)

Separately collected and hygienised urine is a concentrated source of nutrients which can be applied as a liquid fertilizer in agriculture to replace…

Advocacy - Influencing Leaders (DC)

"Advocacy is the action of delivering an argument to gain commitment from political and social leaders and to prepare a society for a particular…

Aerated Pond

An aerated pond is a large, mixed aerobic reactor. Mechanical aerators provide oxygen and keep the aerobic organisms suspended and mixed with water…

Fill and Cover / Arborloo

To decommission a pit, it can simply be filled with soil and covered. Although there is no received benefit, the full pit poses no immediate health…

Leach Field

A leach field, or drainage field, is a network of perforated pipes that are laid in underground gravel-filled trenches to dissipate the effluent from…

Waste Stabilization Ponds (WSP)

Waste Stabilization Ponds (WSPs) are large, man-made water bodies. The ponds can be used individually, or linked in a series for improved treatment.…

Soak Pit

A soak pit, also known as a soakaway or leach pit, is a covered, porous-walled chamber that allows water to slowly soak into the ground. Pre-settled…

Fish Pond (Aquaculture)

Fish can be grown in ponds that receive effluent or sludge where they can feed on algae and other organisms that grow in the nutrient-rich water. The…

Application of Dehydrated Faeces

When faeces are stored in the absence of moisture (i.e., urine), they [8251-dehydrate] into a crumbly, white-beige coarse, flaky material or powder.…


When microbially polluted water is exposed to solar light in transparent PET bottles, bacteria, virus and some parasites are inactivated by the solar…

Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST)

PHAST stands for “Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation”. The approach is a participatory learning methodology that seeks to empower…

Anaerobic Filter

An anaerobic filter is a fixed-bed biological reactor with one or more filtration chambers in series. As wastewater flows through the filter,…

Activated Sludge

An activated sludge process refers to a multi-chamber reactor unit that makes use of highly concentrated microorganisms to degrade organics and…

Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Reactor (UASB)

The upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor (UASB) is a single tank process. Wastewater enters the reactor from the bottom, and flows upward. A…


This perspective was developed within the framework of the project “cewas Middle East”, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The objective of cewas Middle East is to improve business practices in water and sanitation in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region and to support humanitarian water and sanitation actors to improve the sustainability of their services. To achieve this mission, cewas Middle East offers professional training, coaching, mentorship and consulting in business development, as well as specialised trainings in sustainable water, sanitation and resource management in Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq.

Content of the Perspective

Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) in Humanitarian Crises means mainstreaming ideas of long-term technical feasibility, socio-cultural acceptance, economic appropriateness and ecological viability into humanitarian actions (see A Call for Sustainable Humanitarian Intervention factsheet). The present toolbox compiles approaches and methodologies that can help field practitioners in humanitarian aid to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of their water, sanitation and health interventions. This includes appropriate sanitation options, viable solutions for water supply and distribution, planning tools that support a more long-term perspective, as well as approaches for hygiene promotion.


Different settings of humanitarian intervention require different approaches in terms of implementation time, available resources or human capacity. For this reason, the toolbox for SSWM in Humanitarian Crises is structured in four chapters, reflecting four settings of humanitarian intervention:

Each chapter begins with an introductory factsheet that describes the respective setting (including its particular challenges and characteristics), followed by four thematic sections:

All the descriptions of technologies, tools and approaches are backed by interesting reading material to be consulted for further information.

In the four thematic areas, the toolbox presents a broad range of possible tools, selected for the respective setting by a team of experts. Since the appropriateness is determined by the very specific context, the environmental, technical, financial, social and economic framework conditions of the individual situation must always be assessed together with Stakeholder Identification and the affected communities when Project Design the intervention.

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Partners behind this toolbox

About the SSWM Toolbox

The perspective “SSWM in Humanitarian Crises” was developed by cewas middle east with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Benaa Foundation, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development (EAWAG/Sandec), the German Toilet Organisation (GTO), seecon gmbh and cewas international.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Benaa Foundation






Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)



seecon gmbh


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cewas middle east