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...

What is the humanitarian need?

The project aims to provide access to safe water in communities, which do not have it currently. Drinking water quality is improved at the point-of-use through consistent use of household water treatment.

This study generates solid field evidence on the performance and acceptance of four innovative household water filters enabling last-step optimization and scale-up. The results are used to validate the simplified user-friendly practical tool for field evaluation and selection of water filters in emergencies.

What is the innovative solution?

Household water filters using membrane filtration technology are the focus of the study.

At the previous stage, the manufacturers further developed and optimized their products to increase safety, ease of use, capacity, maintenance and appearance. The current designs of the filters enable flexible use by combining gravity-driven operation and pumping, better compatibility with different locally available containers, and automatic backwashing.

What approach are you taking building evidence and how will it help your project to scale?

One of the outcomes of our previous research was the manual for filter evaluation designed for practitioners. In this project, we will implement the methodology proposed in the manual and validate it to assess the effectiveness, acceptance, applicability and limitations of four household filters in two humanitarian contexts. The project will generate evidence on the performance, acceptance and applicability of the four membrane-based household filters – two innovative products, and two products available on the market. The field evaluation will be conducted with 520 filters in total in Iraq and Occupied Palestinian Territories.

What are the expected outcomes?

The data collected during the previous filter evaluation project has been summarized in a detailed project report. The methodology used has been further adapted integrating aspects and experiences of other research groups and our own field experiences. The methodology is summarized in a comprehensive manual for household filter evaluation in the field in an emergency context. The manual has undergone peer-review and is about to be finalized and appear online as a living document, further adapted and optimized considering the experiences of the current study. We envision a short version designed explicitly for field teams.

The results for filter evaluation will be summarized in a detailed report, focusing on the evaluation of filter features, performance, acceptance, ease of use as well as the long term applicability of the products in an emergency setting. The manufacturers will use the evidence and experiences for the final optimization of the products for implementation at scale.

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Latest Updates

Manual overview: Selecting household water filters in emergencies - a manual for field evaluation

Dec 2023

This information sheet provides an overview of the main steps involved in the design and implementation of a filter evaluation study. For more detailed information, please refer to the filter evaluation manual: “Selecting household water filters in emergencies”


Selecting household water filters in emergencies - a manual for field evaluation

Dec 2023

The 2023 Second Edition Manual provides a comprehensive guide for humanitarian agencies, NGOs, and manufacturers to assess household water filters in both emergency and non-emergency settings. It integrates field-tested methodologies, focusing on technical performance, usability, acceptance, and context suitability. This revised edition expands to include Reverse Osmosis filters and updated evaluation methods, facilitating informed decision-making and product optimisation.


Testing household water filters in Iraq and Gaza

Apr 2022

Read about FHNW's preparations for going to the field here


A practical manual for field evaluation of household water filters in emergencies

3 Jun 2021

Evaluating household water filters in an emergency context helps to assure the products perform as they should and users accept them. It helps to choose the optimal filter from the options available and ensure filters are suitable for the context. But how to evaluate filters in the field considering time and resources are limited? The manual for field evaluation of household water filters in emergencies provides a step by step guide. It helps de-fine the objectives, design the study, implement it and use the results to support the decisions.


WASH Evidence funding granted!

Oct 2020

The project has received further funding from the WASH Evidence challenge.


Pastoralists in northern Kenya develop ideas of their desired filter

31 Oct 2018

In total, 155 households are participating in the second testing round that lasted for four months.


Water filters between droughts and floods in northern Kenya

18 Jul 2018

FHNW begin evaluating five types of water filters in a small community called Ndikir in Marsabit county.


Families install water filters in occupied Palestinian territories

02 May 2018

FHNW distribute filters in Masafer Yatta.


Read the Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue

Learn more about this WASH project, and many others, in our Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue.

Read now

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