Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Emergencies

Emergencies, be they natural or man-made disasters, and protracted crises have increased worldwide in the recent past. The provision of adequate WASH services at every step of a crisis, from the first emergency to rehabilitation and long-term development, is crucial in order to protect human and environmental health. The Strategic Environmental Sanitation Planning group at Sandec is leading various efforts to support the humanitarian sector in terms of emergency WASH. A Compendium of Sanitation Technologies in Emergencies was published in partnership with the German WASH Network and Swiss Humanitarian Aid and a Massive Open Online Course wash launched in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sandec provides regular backstopping services to the Swiss Humanitarian Aid (SHA) in terms of capacity building, advisory services and innovation.

Community governance of emergency sanitation

This new research project is co-funded by ETH for Development (ETH4D) and Sandec. Our researchers, together with our partners from Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, aim to understand the current governance structure of sanitation interventions in the humanitarian setting in Bangladesh and the roles and motivations of the local host government, coordinating humanitarian agencies, and local stakeholders. The research aims to analyse the institutional enabling environment that contributes to successful sanitation interventions. This governance research is further enriched through stakeholder analysis and a novel institutional social network analysis. The research will test innovative community-based monitoring of sanitation systems, and evaluate if such methods can strengthen the overall sanitation governance in humanitarian aid contexts. In the case of Bangladesh, community-based monitoring methods and the communication of information must be approached differently, since Rohingya is mainly a spoken language. Visual storytelling will be tested to effect community-led monitoring practices. Through this project, the much-needed understanding of sanitation governance in humanitarian aid contexts is obtained, and innovative community-based monitoring methods are explored to understand their effects on overall sanitation governance. 

The Compendium of Sanitation Technologies in Emergencies

The Compendium of Sanitation Technologies in Emergencies extends the scope of Sandec’s Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies to the field of humanitarian aid. Not only does it cover a wider array of technologies, applicable to the different phases of an emergency, but it also provides an overview of the key cross-cutting issues influencing technology selection and supporting implementation in these contexts. It is a comprehensive, structured and user-friendly manual and planning guide which supports and enables decision making by providing the necessary framework for developing a sanitation system design. It compiles a wide range of information on tried and tested technologies in a single document and gives a systematic overview of existing and emerging sanitation technologies. In addition, it gives concise information on key decision criteria for each technology, facilitating the combination of technologies to come up with full sanitation system solutions, all linked to relevant cross-cutting issues.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

The International Committee of the Red Cross and Eawag-Sandec have joined forces to develop a MOOC, entitled “Introduction to Public Health Engineering in Humanitarian Contexts”. The 5-week course has been launched in November 2017 in English with French and Spanish subtitles. The course can be attended any time on Coursera and Youtube for free.