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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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Anaerobic Baffled Reactor (ABR)

An anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR) is an improved [8217-septic tank] with a series of baffles under which the wastewater is forced to flow. The…

Trickling Filter

A trickling filter, is a fixed-bed, biological reactor that operates under (mostly) aerobic conditions. Pre-settled wastewater is continuously ‘…

Septic Tank

A septic tank is a watertight chamber made of concrete, fibreglass, PVC or plastic, through which blackwater and greywater flows for primary…

Biosand Filter

The biosand filter (BSF) is a simple household water treatment device, which is an innovation on traditional slow sand filters specifically designed…


Water disinfection by chlorination was massively introduced in the early twentieth century. It set off a technological revolution in water treatment…

Participatory Mapping

Principally, participatory mapping serves as a tool to provide a visual representation of information in a particular geographical context. It is…

Colloidal Silver Filter

Colloidal Silver Filters (CSF) are simple household water treatment devices based on a physical treatment, which does not require energy supply. CSFs…

Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS)

Lack of improved access to safe drinking water together inadequate sanitation and hygiene are the overwhelming contributors to the 1.8 million annual…

Anaerobic Digestion (Large-Scale)

Large-scale anaerobic biogas digesters are reactors used for the conversion of the organic fraction of large volumes of slurries and sludge into…


Boiling drinking water with fuel is the oldest and most commonly practiced household water treatment method. According to WHO, water needs to be…

Anaerobic Digestion (Small-scale)

A small-scale biogas reactor or anaerobic digester is an anaerobic treatment technology that produces (a) a digested slurry (digestate) that can be…

Biogas Reactor

A biogas reactor or anaerobic digester is an anaerobic treatment technology that produces (a) a digested slurry (digestate) that can be used as a…


A settler is a primary treatment technology for wastewater; it is designed to remove suspended solids by sedimentation. It may also be referred to as…

Ceramic Candle Filter

Ceramic candle filters are simple devices made out of clay and used to filter drinking water in order to removes turbidity, suspended materials and…

Unplanted Drying Beds

An unplanted drying bed is a simple, permeable bed that, when loaded with sludge, collects percolated leachate and allows the sludge to dry by…


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