|Handbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) / Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR), 1999, 414 p.)|
|17. Environmental sanitation|
· Appoint a focal point;
· One sanitarian for every 5,000 persons and one sanitation assistant per 500 persons should be recruited from among the refugees or from other sources;
· Community participation is the key to successful sanitation projects.
14. A focal point for sanitation must be appointed at the very start of the emergency, and responsibilities of various partners clearly defined. There are not many agencies specializing in environmental sanitation.
15. The first step in appointing the focal point is to investigate the availability of local expertise (a civil engineer specialized in sanitary engineering as an ideal example). Recourse to outside assistance has to be contemplated if local expertise is not available.
16. At camp level, sanitation teams or brigades, provided with basic hand-tools, should be set up to carry out urgent tasks (digging trenches or pits for excretia and waste disposal). A health education programme should be launched simultaneously. Each team should be headed by staff who have good knowledge of sanitation (including medical and engineering aspects).
One sanitarian for every 5,000 persons and one sanitation assistant per 500 persons should be recruited.
17. It is always more efficient to have only one agency responsible for both sensitizing people to environmental sanitation and supervising related activities. Education for environmental sanitation should focus on the "how and why" of hygienic containment of human excretia, and simple methods for waste disposal and hygiene at household level (water storage in the home, habitat and personal hygiene, etc.) Women, teachers, leaders, and school children should be the first target of such a programme.
18. Community participation is a key to the success of sanitation projects. Health education and sensitization are a prerequisite to that participation. It should nevertheless be recognized that it takes time to convince both the community and individuals about benefits they can expect from a sanitary environment. Concrete examples such as pilot latrines near clinics, market or other places are therefore very important to support environmental health programmes.
19. Refugees should be provided with tools and basic materials (and incentives in some cases) to encourage them to contribute to the improvement of their own living conditions. They should be gradually integrated into the sanitation teams, the ultimate goal being that the refugees themselves should do most of the maintenance tasks.
20. Annex 2, Resource Inventory Form, gives a checklist of the human and material resources needed for environmental sanitation.