Urban WASH Lessons Learned from Post-Earthquake Response in Haiti | Toilet

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Large-scale urban WASH programming requires different approaches to those normally employed in Oxfam emergency response activities. This paper examines the lessons learned from the WASH response to the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. The paper also gives practical case studies of some of the success and failures from the WASH activities, undertaken in a very high-density urban/peri-urban context.
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  OXFAM Urban Lessons Learnt Paper 1 Urban WASH Lessons Learned from Post-Earthquake Response in Haiti Large-scale urban WASH programming requires different approaches to those normally employed in Oxfam emergency response activities. This paper examines the lessons learned from the WASH response to the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. The paper also gives practical case studies of some of the success and failures from the WASH activities, undertaken in a very high-density urban/peri-urban context. Introduction  At the height of the emergency response, Oxfam GB was supporting 149,613 people 1  with water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in more than 46 sites in the Port-au-Prince area. 18 Camps had populations greater than 1,000 people, while the largest camp, Petionville Golf Course, had a population in excess of 50,000 people. The smallest site, Santo 14-B had a population of 482. Location # Project Sites Population Delmas 14 67,425 Carrefour 14 38,718 Carrefour Feuilles 5 7,950 Croix de Bouquet 11 26,320 Corail 2 9,200 Many areas, such as Carrefour Feuilles, Carrefour and Delmas, lack any formal urban planning process and have high population densities. Access, particularly for vehicles is poor, due to narrow passageways. Many of the worst affected areas are also located on steep slopes, crossed by steep ravines, the only natural means of drainage. As such, ravines serve as discharges for wastewater (of all types), and for disposing of solid waste. Pre-earthquake, such areas were severely under served by basic services; water supply, excreta disposal, waste management, drainage and health care facilities included. Figure 1:   The Carrefour Feuilles area of the City, one year after the earthquake. (Photo: Tim Forster, OGB)    1   Population served directly by OGB. Does not include those from neighbourhoods surrounding camps or served by partners.   Oxfam’s WASH response   The main WASH activities undertaken in the earthquake response in Port-au-Prince included: Water trucking & distribution Water system rehabilitation & community management On-site sanitation and excreta management Waste collection & removal Debris collection, removal and processing Community mobilisation Hygiene promotion & NFI Distributions Institutional support to the WASH sector This has been achieved through a variety of approaches, including direct implementation through Oxfam teams, working through partners (both INGOs and national NGOs), and through direct support to the national WASH institutions and the WASH Cluster. Oxfam has created a number of innovative relationships with a number of INGO’s including:  1.Disaster Waste Recovery (DWR)2.Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods(SOIL)3.Hydroconseil4.GRETCooperation with Government, municipal and other national actors has also been strong, particularly through participation in the WASH Cluster at both a national and municipal level. Oxfam has also supported government to develop a national waste management policy. Direct support has been given to: 1.DINEPA 2 2.Ministry of Public Works &Telecommunications3.CTE of Port-au-Prince (ex CAMEP)4.SMCRS5.University of Quisqueya Another strong component of the Oxfam WASH response has been mobilising communities, and providing support to communities to manage their own WASH services. Oxfam worked with existing local partners including PEJEFE, Friendship, APROSIFA, CRAD, COSPAM and MJS in the Carrefour Feuilles area of the City. 2  Direction National de Eau Potable et Assainissement  OXFAM Urban Lessons Learnt Paper 2 Implementing WASH Activities in the urban context Early on, Cash-for-Work was widely used in camps of more than 800 families. The main livelihood objective was to quickly inject cash into the local economy, while a secondary objective was to clean up the camp environment. Having two differing objectives reduces the overall impact of the activities. Cash-for-Work or Casual Daily Labourers?    CFW   is a livelihood tool designed to provide   cash to specific groups quickly, but not necessarily to undertake a defined task. Daily Labourers   are used by organisation to accomplish a specific task, while providing some cash to a number of selected community members. From a WASH perspective, camp clean ups are best achieved through using daily labourers under the management of the WASH Team rather than through pure CFW activities. In Haiti, there was often confusion about the two, resulting in many organisations achieving only partial results with clean  –  up campaigns. 1.Community Mobilisation  A number of mechanisms have been used to build a strong working relationship with affected camp communities, these include: Camp Management Committees PH Community Mobilisers Community PH Volunteers Peer Educators The entry point, for Oxfam’s work in the camps, were the camp management committees. Committees were responsible for identifying potential Community Mobilisers, and then assisting to set up the PHP structure. Community Mobilisers were appointed from the camp residents, based on clear selection criteria and thorough selection interviews. CMs were paid Oxfam staff, employed at a ratio of one person per 1,000 people, with an equal split between men and women. A group of ten volunteers were then selected to work directly with each CM. To supplement this structure, Peer Educators were selected to represent specific groups, such as mothers, the disabled, children and men. PHP Approach The main approach to PHP in the camps consisted of: 1.Training for CMs & PH Volunteers in participatoryapproaches2.Household support visits (1 PH Volunteer per 20families)3.Monthly thematic campaigns (e.g. handwashing, malaria, etc.)4.Monitoring of PH activities5.Setting up & supporting Water CommitteesTrainings were conducted in the camp, or close by in the surrounding community. Deciding on the most appropriate PHP approach for particular camps depended on camp size, camp location (high density urban vs peri-urban), and community expectations. Deciding the most appropriate way forward requires dialogue and analysis with the community themselves. Opportunities to build on existing community structures and civil society organisations should also be seized upon. Hygiene Promotion    PHP teams used a number of techniques to promote better hygiene in the camps, including: Posters & Leaflets Campaigns Household visits Clubs NFIs Communal hand washing facilities Communal Hand Washing Facilities   One major problem with communal hand washing facilities was lack of community follow up to keep the stations filled. There was also theft and/or vandalism of the units, due to the lack of water. This is particularly true where rainwater-harvesting systems were set up for filling purposes. Due to delays in implementation, many of the later were only completed as the dry season began.    Clearing Drainage Channels in Cité Soleil   One of Oxfam’s partners, DWR, undertook to clear a main drainage channel in the Cité Soleil area. The activity was undertaken to reduce the risk of flooding prior to the start of the hurricane season. Typically, organisations use a mix of mechanised processes and CFW to undertake such activities. Results may however be short-lived, particularly when CFW is a major component of the work. In Cite Soleil, DWR privileged using daily labourers rather than CFW. Firstly, a Drainage Clearance Committee was set up. Daily labourers were then identified by local community leaders, from 10 “micro -commu nities”’ bordering 1.5 mile long channel. Community leaders were effectively (rival) gang leaders brought together by DWR staff  –  their coming together and making collective decisions in the Committee was remarkable. Figure 2:   Clearing the main drainage channels in the Cité Soleil are of the City. (Photo: Nick Brooks, OGB)    Experience from Haiti showed communities throw waste into newly cleaned drainage channels, almost immediately. CFW is particularly associated with access to livelihoods, and clear thinking is required about “sustainability” before rushing into similar “for cash” clean -up campaigns.  OXFAM Urban Lessons Learnt Paper 3 Working with Children in Schools    Handmade kites are very popular with Haitian kids”. PHP staff in Carrefour observed this in the camps. They worked with local community mobilisers to provide materials for the kids to make kites with hygiene messages, as part of children's health activities. Figure 4:     A child’s kite with PH messaging. (Photo: Oxfam GB)   Other examples include work done at Golf Course, where local artists worked with children in a dedicated tent, to specifically make toys from recycled waste products.   NFI Distributions    NFI distributions were a major component of the Oxfam response in Delmas & Carrefour areas. Two main approaches where used to identify and target NFI needs: 1.Blanket distributions of simple hygiene kits inspecific camps early on the response.2.Use of a NFI voucher system based on the useof local shops located in the camp proximity.The use of blanket distributions is felt particularly appropriate early in the response. This not only caters for immediate NFI needs, but also provides the space to identify: specific NFI needs, vulnerable groups, and local suppliers (shops), if planning a voucher system. Blanket distributions may be more of a security risk though.  Voucher systems are more flexible; it reduces security risks associated with mass distributions in high-density urban areas, and allows beneficiaries more choice in satisfying their personal hygiene needs. It removes the need for Oxfam to; purchase, package, store and distribute NFI items. Clubs, Camp Residents & Radio Broadcasts In Delmas, Oxfam’s PHP Teams set up Mother’s & Children’s Clubs a t most of the Oxfam supported camps. Mother’s Clubs   were tasked with monthly promotional activities, and with managing materials/resources for HP activities. During the cholera outbreak, “Caravans”, using megaphones were organised to demonstrate hand washing, give cholera messages and distribute soap. ORS sachets were also given to Mother’s Club leaders.   Children’s Clubs   were also set up by the camp Community Mobilisers. Activities included being taught about recycling and playing other hygiene related games, particularly during the school holiday period. Going on Air Camp children participated in a weekly radio show on Radio Kiskay FM, a popular radio station in Port-au-Prince. A theatre group helped to write sketches for radio transmission, camp children then presented the sketches live on the radio. The broadcasts, about life in the camp, were interspersed with HP messages, and were widely listened to in Port-au-Prince. Figure 3:   Children from camps in the Delmas area of the City participating in a radio broadcast. (Photo: OGB)    NFI Vouchers   In Delmas, Oxfam’s PHP Teams used vouchers to distribute NFI items to vulnerable groups. The voucher system was chosen as it was considered; safer; easier to manage; and more valued by beneficiaries. Firstly, vulnerable people were identified by Community Mobilisers; they were then interviewed by PHP staff to establish their eligibility. The NFI items required by each person was also listed a guide. If eligible, people were registered, and at a later date, issued with a voucher, listing name, ID number and the quantity of items to be collected. Figure 5:   A range of NFI items that were distributed using the voucher system. (Photo: Kateryna Perus, OGB)   Parallel to this, storeowners were identified in Petionville. The quantity & quality of items, availability, mechanisms for distribution and willingness to participate were verified. Following this, participating storeowners signed a contract, and were given 30% of the contract price up front. The remaining 70% being paid after the NFI kits have been delivered. To obtain kits, selected beneficiaries travelled from Delmas to Petionville using local transport. Each person was given a travel allowance, with one Community Mobiliser accompanying 20 people. In Petionville, people were issued with a kit in return for his or her voucher. Children’s kits were also distributed, one parent being responsible for collecting the kit. 658 kits were distributed throuh vouchers.  OXFAM Urban Lessons Learnt Paper 4 2.Sanitation The main challenges for the Oxfam teams were excreta disposal and poor solid waste management practices. In Haiti, pre-earthquake, only 29 % of urban dwellers used improved sanitation (JMP 2008), with open defecation and flying toilets being common in high-density urban areas. Waste collection services, and drainage were virtually non-existent in many areas of the city. Excreta Collection & Disposal Communal & Shared Family Trench/Pit Latrines   were the technical solutions most commonly used by Oxfam during the emergency programme. Options were selected based on site characteristics, availability of space, and being granted permission to install latrines by landowners. In many cases landowners refused to allow latrines to be installed on their land. Latrines were installed in phases: Phase I     –  Emergency latrines using squatting slabs and plastic sheeting superstructures. Phase II     –  Stabilised trench latrines, squatting slabs, and rigid emergency superstructures Phase III     –  Lined, high volume pits, seats or squatting slabs, and plywood superstructures. Further details of the “phased” approach can be found in the Petionville Golf Course case study text box. Chemical Toilets  , hired from private companies, were used in some camps very early on in the emergency. However, given the limited size of the storage capacity and high maintenance cost (over $20/day) for emptying/cleaning, their use was quickly discontinued. Later on, new unused Portaloo units were used as showers in Corail. Toilet tanks were removed, and the superstructures were installed on concrete foundations to become shower cubicles. Figure 6:   Toilets into shower cubicles: An innovative use of Portaloo toilets at Corail Camp. (Photo: Kateryna Perus, OGB)     An Oxfam partner, SOIL, also converted units into dry composting toilets, by substituting the toilet tank with a bucket and a urine diversion seat.  Raised toilet units  , fitted above plastic water tanks were used at sites where: space was limited, it was impossible to dig, or landowners refused permission to dig. Raised latrine units require regular desludging by vacuum tankers. Oxfam had lower O & M costs than other organisations opting for Portaloos. The best configuration was to have 3 or 4 cubicles discharging into one larger  “water” tank.   Figure 7  : Raised toilet unit in Delmas area of the City. Tank is desludged twice monthly. (Photo: Tim Forster, OGB)   PooBags  , including PeePoo, biodegradable and simple plastic bags were piloted at two camps where it was impossible to install latrines quickly. Although there were limitations, it did build on people’s existing practices. The elderly, less physically able and women particularly appreciated PeePoo bags, as these could be used at night in their tents. Use of an organised bag collection system also prevented “bags”   being discarded indiscriminately into drainage channels and ravines. Peepoo bags were particularly liked because of their ability to reduce smells, especially when used inside tents. Unfortunately, after the initial pilot, bag use was discontinued and an opportunity to provide vulnerable individuals with a “safe” night toilet option was lost.  Further details of the Poo Bag experience can be found in a separate Technical Briefing Note: Oxfam TBN #19   UD Toilets  , Oxfam’s partner SOIL piloted UD toilets at 3 2 sites, 194 units being installed. Two community-composting sites were also set up. The pilot worked well due to the partner’s high motivation and community mobilisation work. 12-months on, many of the units are still in operation. Paid toilet attendants, on daily labour rates, is one factor ensuring high user satisfaction with the units. Figure 8: Raised UD toilet units installed and operated by Oxfam’s partner SOIL. (Photo: SOIL) Further details about SOIL toilets can be found in the section on partnership.  
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