Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

A global organisation that finds solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation..
Our purpose is clear: we work in partnership with a global community of humanitarian actors, researchers and innovators to improve the quality of humanitarian action and deliver better outcomes for people affected by crises.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

Principal Investigators: Sheillah Simiyu, APHRC & Sian White, LSHTM


Our research will contribute to informed humanitarian decision-making by providing an understanding of the ‘life-cycle’ of handwashing infrastructure and addressing major research gaps. It will also improve understanding of how hand hygiene habits can be initiated and sustained over time which could have a meaningful impact on disease transmission in crisis-affected settings. Specifically, this research aims to assess whether providing crisis-affected populations with increased access to desirable and durable handwashing facilities will lead to increases in handwashing behaviour. The research will build evidence on the acceptability, usability, durability, cost-benefits, maintenance and sustainable local production of the facility. The study will comprise a before and after study to assess effectiveness. This will be complemented by formative research into behaviour and supply chains, a cost-benefit study, and a process evaluation.

Sheillah Simiyu

African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Robust evaluation of interventions taking place during epidemics is challenging, but very important to ensure that the activities are working as effectively as possible to stop transmission. This research will provide evidence on local production and supply of handwashing infrastructure, hand hygiene habits in crisis affected populations, and how hand hygiene habits can be initiated and sustained over time. This evidence could have an impact on reducing disease transmission and improving health in crisis-affected settings .

Sian White

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

Crises have the potential to disrupt handwashing habits, however the Jengu handwashing facility has been designed to enable and cue hygiene behaviour in complex crisis-affected settings. This evaluation will not only assess Jengu’s impact on behaviour over time but will also generate important evidence related to local supply chains for hygiene infrastructure, and the sustainability and cost-benefits of hardware provision. We hope this research will improve the lives of crisis-affected populations and support improved decision-making within the humanitarian sector.

Expected Outcomes

While our research will focus on evaluating the Jengu handwashing facility, it will also generate broader insights about handwashing infrastructure and behaviour including:

  • Whether investing in more robust and behaviour-centric infrastructure will result in improved behaviour and whether behavioural changes are sustained over time.
  • An understanding of the features of handwashing facilities that are preferred by crisis-affected populations, and which elements of the facilities are most durable under heavy use.
  • The effectiveness of different operational and maintenance modalities for handwashing infrastructure in crisis settings.
  • The rate of soap and water consumption from shared handwashing facilities and the longevity of handwashing infrastructure.
  • The requirements for, and impact of, a sustainable local supply chain for manufacturing and distributing handwashing facilities.
Uganda Red Cross; Kyangwali refugee reception center; Assembly of Jengu handwashing prototype

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