In 2013, we began our work in WASH with a bold ambition: to identify and prioritise key problems in the field and to find and nurture innovative solutions to address these at scale. To date, we’ve supported more than 40 innovation projects or research studies in this area.
Our projects collectively address some of the most pressing challenges faced by humanitarian WASH practitioners globally. Together, we’re looking for what works. We’re seeking out innovation potential and creative problem-solving. And we’re supporting rigorous testing and evidence-building that drives progress in humanitarian response.
Limited access to clean water and poor sanitation are drivers for the spread of diarrhoeal diseases – a critical challenge during crises.
These diseases account for more than 40% of deaths in the acute emergency phase, and for 80% of deaths in children under the age of two. Girls and women are particularly affected by a lack of well-designed latrines and access to safe water. We know that more needs to be done.
We have driven progress in humanitarian WASH by defining the most pressing problems, developing the right solutions, distilling our findings and driving positive change.
Our WASH Innovation Catalogue is the first of its kind. It offers a unique overview of some of the most promising new solutions in WASH, and is designed to help practitioners decide which innovations could help them solve their most pressing problems. Taking an innovation from idea to scale can take years, and the innovations featured in this catalogue are all at different stages on that journey, but what this offers the WASH sector now is a look at the exciting work happening around the world to address common challenges.
In 2019 we published the WASH Innovation Catalogue. The first of its kind, it offers a unique overview of more than 30 of the most promising new solutions in WASH. It is designed to help practitioners decide which innovations could help them solve their most pressing problems.View
In Jan 2019 we held our first WASH Innovation Showcase. We brought together some of the leading WASH influencers, donors, innovators and decision makers to share their insights on tackling some of the most challenging problems in WASH.
Advised by our Technical Working Group (TWG) of WASH experts, we published further deep dive exploration reports in five key areas to critically analyse the problems and devise the best approach for tackling them.
We designed and developed 12 needs-based Innovation Challenges. These covered topics such as handwashing, surface water drainage, user-centred design and faecal sludge management.
In 2013 we published the sector’s first ever WASH Gap Analysis. This identified over 50 programming gaps where innovation could have a tangible impact.View
WASH is about so much more than latrines and water. Providing effective WASH services in an emergency means understanding people’s needs, challenges, motivations and desires; it means responding to those in a way that provides people with safe and dignified ways of keeping themselves and their family healthy during one of the most difficult times of their life. Innovation plays a crucial role in achieving this. Innovation can help us invent new water filters and latrine slabs; but innovation can also help us to see the problem and our solutions in new ways. At Elrha, we don’t want to run challenges to find a new solar-powered latrine light if we don’t know what latrine lighting means for the safety of users. We support our innovators to explore and address complex problems in a staged and responsible way and support them right from ideation to scale. It’s a great privilege to work with creative and insightful humanitarians, academics and designers every day, and I am proud of the results already achieved by our over 30 successful WASH innovations.
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