In most responses, there is inadequate consultation before latrines are constructed, little/no specific feedback mechanism on the latrine and poor monitoring – emphasising quantity over quality.
With a first phase of funding from Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), Oxfam’s Sanitation Lighting research found an average 40% women not using agency latrines – even in daylight. This shows a significant discrepancy between technical standards, what specific user groups want and need, and how programmes are designed and implemented. Consequently, people (mostly female) resort to open defecation/use vessels that are not properly cleaned/disposed of, with huge health implications (diarrhoea rates). Equally worrying is the link between poor quality latrines and risk of sexual abuse.
Following this research, in 2019, Oxfam GB was awarded a second grant from the HIF’s diffusion call to support the scaling of this intervention. The Sani Tweaks concept proposes latrines should be built rapidly involving community groups in first phase/rapid onset emergencies, but using a good enough approach – rapid, structured and inclusive. Next, latrine quality standards should be “tweaked” and improved, informed by in-depth consultation processes and an understanding of power, social dynamics, people’s preferences and coping mechanisms to adjust designs, materials, maintenance and usage models.
Oxfam’s Sani Tweaks materials (checklist, illustrated booklet, animation and video series) are designed to help all agencies’ field staff implement programmes in a way that ensures all people targeted use the latrines – in the short and long term. With HIF support, it will disseminate these materials (and more) creatively to the global WASH sector, improving how sanitation programmes are implemented, increasing latrine usage and dignity in use – especially for women and girls.
This project is ultimately about increasing latrine user satisfaction and rates of latrine use – especially among women and girls – at scale, through WASH field staff.
This project will have a direct, positive impact on the health of humanitarian camp residents due to less faecal matter in the environment.
It will increase the dignity and well being of all latrine users, especially women and girls.
It will disseminate a field-tested suite of Sani Tweaks materials in a variety of formats (e.g. short videos/podcasts, animations, images, booklet), and accessible through a variety of means to suit different learning styles of field WASH staff.
These materials will be made available to all agency WASH staff with the intention of influencing global emergency sanitation programming.
Through interagency workshops, in which participants are encouraged to put themselves “in the shoes” of latrine users, Oxfam is diffusing its ‘Sani Tweaks’ approach at scale – with the aim of triggering behaviour change in WASH field staff and ultimately boosting low latrine usage rates.View
Despite the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, sanitation remains a critical component to reducing public health related risks. Through its Sani Tweaks approach, Oxfam continues to promote best practices in sanitation, ensuring that the vital conversation around user consultation not only continues but accelerates into 2020.View
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