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There is a lot being done in sanitation in the development sector as far as innovations. What is going on in emergency sanitation?

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A summary of new developments and technologies includes:

• Urine diversion in emergencies (makes it easier to treat faeces). This was used in Haiti, and Dolo Ado, Ethiopia. They’ve also been quite successful as they smell less. Also managed to use double vault as first phase emergency camps and UNHCR have now bought into the fact that they can work.

• “Tiger Toilets” use the tiger worm and eudrilus engeniae worm to treat the sewage, with trials in Myanmar, Liberia and India. However the worms are quite sensitive (require the right bedding material), so not yet at implementation.

• The Biofil model used in Ghana, which uses bedding layers, and worms to live around the bedding. Oxfam have improved it - now called Modified Biofil.

• Improved Emergency latrine slabs which enable urine diversion. Nag Magic supply most agencies; also do children’s potties.

• Bio additives seem to be making a resurgence even though before it was proved that they didn’t work. There seems to be a future in it. Lots of research into bio fuel cells, with one development area biofuel (where you could use all the waste from toilets to get power).

I would second Remi's suggestion to look at the SanCop website where there is more information about the different projects.


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Hello, there are many exciting initiatives. See for example the presentations at a recent Sanitation Community of Practice on that topic: (you can then look at the various organisations presenting like Oxfam, RedR,, etc. to see their projects).

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I think a Peepoo is also good option for sanitation in emergencies because Peepoo is a personal, single-use, self-sanitising, fully biodegradable toilet that prevents faeces from contaminating the immediate area as well as the surrounding ecosystem. After use, Peepoo turns into valuable fertiliser that can improve livelihoods and increase food security .

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Hand hygiene:

  1. Even where there is a piped water supply, the tap handle represents a possible path of infection. Where there are known to be particularly dangerous pathogens in a population (e.g. Ebola), a ball valve whose arm is held up by a bungee cord and is pulled down by a treadle board is good technology.

  2. Where there is no piped supply, I recommend Tippy Tap ( Construction manuals in several languages here. I suggest a relatively long treadle board to keep feet clear of splashes.

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In case the water table is high, it is important to build elevate latrine. Example, in Haiti. One challenge is to ensure the drain every 2 or 3 days. This required also the involvement of users who must ensure daily cleaning.

However , it should also be noted that communities using flying toilet ( plastic bag or Peepoo). This method is dangerous because these bags, after use occur most in hand of children.

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Hello there,

The Emergency WASH sector has been identified as a key area in need of innovation, and the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (which is a donor to Knowledge Point), has a special area of wok in WASH. See more here, including funded projects:

I'm interested in people sharing innovations they are aware of, or areas in need of innovations.


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