Community Engagement in sanitation: creating an M&E framework for emergencies

Organisation: Oxfam GB

Partners: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

Location: UK, Iraq, Lebanon, Uganda, Bangladesh

Type of grant: WASH

Status: Ongoing

  • Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti Oxfam has installed toilets in schools, helping to rebuild what was damaged. Credit: Vincent Tremeau / Oxfam

  • Nepalese women with a radio

  • Community Engagement in Yemen

  • Iraqi Market

  • Oxfam latrine in a camp for Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh. Credit: Lucy Knight

  • Diagram 1: Community participation (Oxfam 2018)

  • Picture drawn by Rohingya boy in Children’s Workshop in Bangladesh.

  • Picture 2: Picture drawn by Rohingya girl in Children’s Workshop in Bangladesh.


This project has three components. First, to review of current community engagement approaches and their appropriateness and impact on sanitation provision in rapid on-set emergencies. Second, to develop a framework for monitoring and evaluating the success of community engagement approaches in emergencies and testing this framework in 2 protracted emergency locations and 2 emergency locations. Lastly, to analyse and translate the findings into good practice guidance on how to design, implement and evaluate rapid community engagement projects to inform sanitation provision in humanitarian emergencies.

What is the humanitarian need?

Within the WASH sector, there is an increasing recognition of the importance of engaging local communities in the design, selection, and implementation of sanitation facilities.  This also includes an understanding and consideration of physical and safety needs, as well as cultural and religious contexts as all of these factors shape sanitation practices and needs.

There is lack of documented evidence and understanding on how to design, implement, and evaluate approaches to user-centred sanitation that incorporate rapid community engagement and are appropriate for the first stage of rapid-onset emergencies.

What is the innovative solution?

Oxfam will first conduct a landscape review of existing community engagement practice and relevant approaches that could be applied in rapid-onset emergencies (defined as the first twelve weeks following a crisis).

Oxfam will then develop an M&E framework to evaluate community engagement methodologies.  The hypothesis being tested is that greater community engagement (including empowerment, trust and mutual respect) leads to improved latrine construction that is timely, appropriate, consistently used and community-owned.

The M&E framework will be implemented by 3 organisations who have developed community engagement methodologies to be implemented across 2 protracted emergency locations (Iraq and Lebanon) and 3 rapid-onset locations (Uganda, 2 sites, and Bangladesh). Oxfam will make sure the M&E framework is adhered to and will collect consistent, relevant and comparable data on their work and impact.

What are the expected outcomes?

Oxfam will analyse and translate the findings into good practice guidance on how to design, implement and evaluate rapid community engagement projects to inform sanitation provision in humanitarian emergencies.

Oxfam will socialise the finalised version of the M&E framework as well as the research findings across the WASH sector and wider humanitarian community to contribute to the body of documented evidence on how to design, implement, and evaluate approaches to user-centred sanitation that incorporate rapid community engagement and are appropriate for the first stage of rapid-onset emergencies.


Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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