Showcasing the h4h systemic approach

The Emergency Environmental Health Forum (EEHF) is an international research and learning event aimed at water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) implementers, researchers, donors and policymakers. The event provides a space to discuss the latest research, evaluations and learning on humanitarian WASH programmes. The EEHF 2024 edition took place in Zürich from May 15-17 in a hybrid format, with online and in-person sessions.

Days 1-2 focused on Research, Learning and Evaluation to inform emergency WASH practice and policy. Day 3 hosted an Innovation Showcase of products, processes and solutions that aim to solve an emergency WASH-related problem. The hands4health project participated in the showcase sessions Day 3, holding the session “A systemic approach of a multi-component WASH intervention in institutions not connected to municipal water supply” from 11:00-12:00 CEST, led by Carola Bänziger (FHNW School of Life Sciences) and Max Friedrich (Ranas).

The hands4health’s approach addresses the sustainability challenges of WASH in health care facilities and schools not connected to municipal water supply in humanitarian contexts affected by water scarcity. WASH infrastructure projects often fail, resulting in over 20% financial losses within initial months. Reasons for failure include mismatch of the infrastructure with the specific local needs, low priority perception, lack of awareness and sense of ownership, insufficient monitoring and management capacity, and malfunctions regarding repair mechanisms. Further, there is a disconnect between national regulations and realisation with government technical services struggling to support communities in crisis situations.

The hands4health innovation is a multi-component WASH intervention in health care facilities and schools, grounded in capacity engagement and ownership within institutions and health and education authorities at all levels. It boosts institutional resilience through these key outputs:

  1. Local production of innovative Gravit’eau handwashing stations that recycle water;
  2. Contextualised behaviour change component implemented by local RanasEXPERTS, based on the RANAS approach;
  3. Chlorination of drinking water independently implemented by the regional health directorate;
  4. Independent monitoring of chlorine levels and data visualisation;
  5. Combined WASH FIT and preventive maintenance implemented by the management committees of health centres and schools. 

The recordings of the sessions will be available on EEHF’s Youtube. If you would like to stay up-to-date on the latest EEHF news and events, you can subscribe to the EEHF mailing list.