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.
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What is the humanitarian need?

Disposal of faecal sludge is a significant problem during rapid-onset emergencies. While some guidance exists, this is often not translated into qualitative interventions, generating health and environmental risks. Despite the existence of guidance and resources, practitioners often make inappropriate decisions or apply solutions ineffectively. With a first phase of funding from Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), the project was divided into two components: research and dissemination.

A key challenge is to develop contextually appropriate guidance materials that are sensitive to the pressures and priorities of humanitarian settings to inform those responsible for the management and disposal of faecal sludge. Another challenge is to make sure that those responsible for decision-making on disposal in a rapid-onset emergencies are able to uptake the knowledge and make informed decisions rapidly, and thus improve practices.

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What is the innovation solution?

OCTOPUS a web-based tool to disseminate guidance and to help identify key common criteria and indicators for crisis-specific case studies. The tool connects with other existing sanitation initiatives. With a first phase of funding from Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), input from the global sanitation community helped to improve the quality and number of experiences shared on the platform. Testing openly linked theory to practice regarding the decision-making process at the field level. The process for documenting final guidance based on learning from each crisis needs to be systematised.

Following the successful delivery of the above milestones, in 2019, Save the Children UK was awarded a second grant from the HIF’s diffusion call to support the scaling of this intervention. OCTOPUS is a collaborative online platform for faecal sludge disposal and treatment in emergencies. The platform supports sanitation practitioners working in the field of faecal sludge management (FSM) to:

  1. Make decisions,
  2. Collaborate and share practices
  3. Improve practices

They are able to document their context-specific FSM practices, discover what other solutions have been implemented in the same crisis or in other crises, and compare solutions and technologies. It was developed & tested based on the experience of the Rohingya Cox’s Bazar crisis, and will now be applied in other crisis. The platform will be a reference source of information and knowledge on faecal sludge disposal and treatment, providing a tool for the Global WaSH Cluster and its partners to document the learning on specific crises.

What are the next steps?

With the second phase of HIF funding, the OCTOPUS platform will be enhanced to ensure that the tool is best adapted and intuitive for FSM practitioners.

The tool will be deployed in another context than the Bangladesh Rohingya crisis in Cox’s Bazar.

A deployment plan will be designed to support the platform administration on the long term and its general deployment in other crises. The Partners will determine the best way to anchor this strategic tool in the GWC priorities.

Information regarding the Octopus project will be disseminated in order to ensure the collective support of the sanitation community.

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View OCTOPUS now

View the OCTOPUS platform now.

Latest Updates

OCTOPUS receive diffusion grant

1 Apr 2019

In April 2019, Solidaritiés International was successfully awarded a HIF diffusion grant to help them scale their project.


OCTOPUS, the first collaborative platform on faecal sludge management!

23 May 2019

In their first blog, Solidarités International provide an overview of what OCTOPUS is, and why it can be a game-changer in emergency faecal sludge management.


OCTOPUS: an online platform for collaboration and decision-making on FSM

16 Sept 2019

OCTOPUS is an online platform on faecal sludge disposal and treatment in emergency contexts, allowing sharing practices and experiences that come directly from the field. On the platform, practitioners can document their experience, compare technologies and discuss sanitation solutions adapted to different crisis’ contexts.



29 Sept 2000

Solidarités International describe the creation and evolution of the online platform OCTOPUS, which gathers best practices in faecal sludge management.


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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