Open defecation of children in displacement camps brings significant health risks to the camp population [REF]. Additionally, up to 50% of refugee populations around the world are children [REF]. Therefore, user-centred child-friendly sanitation facilities have the potential to significantly impact the health of displaced populations. Currently, the influence of people’s needs on the design of sanitation facilities is minimal and assessment of a situation after a rapid-onset emergency is of a quantitative nature.

This section details the methodology as it was trialled in displacement camps in Bangladesh and Iraq. You can find more information on the pilots here.


1. Launch session

A community gathering with the primary user group (children aged 5 -12 years), their carers and community representatives is the beginning of the engagement process. It aims to build a relationship between the field team and the affected people, introduce the process and focus of the engagement (i.e. rehabilitation or new constructions) and represents an opportunity to address any potential participation barriers.


2. Digital Engagement I

Trained field staff conduct the first survey with children and primary carers in camp households for 3 - 4 days. The automatically produced report is reviewed and the main pain points identified are taken into the next phase of the engagement.


3. Co-Creation session

The field team and local facilitators run a co-creation session with children and caregivers. Data captured in Digital Engagement I informs activities 5 Whys exercises (caregivers) and H-Assessments to explore pain points and come up with improvements with the community.

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4. Construction

WASH engineers review the improvement co-created with the community for feasibility and decide on design changes. Material is procured and constructions or alterations carried out.

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5. Digital Survey II

Second interactive survey with children and carers in their camp households. The survey is focuses on measuring satisfaction with the alterations and collect feedback.

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6. Alterations

The output of Digital Engagement II informs any updates to sanitation facilities.


Main Components

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Digital Tool

The Digital Tool engages with children and caregivers using interactive illustrations and scales using smiley faces. The use of these visual components circumvents potential low literacy skills in the affected population. Responses to key question using the illustrations are answered by tapping on “pain points” on the tablet. This interactivity is intended to make the activity more engaging for respondents and creates heatmap data of tapped areas on the tablet.

The tool is used to create short digital engagements, that require few field team resources. Instructions for deployment within the tool and simple use mean that training requirements are also kept to minimum. Data can be collected offline using multiple devices and uploaded once an internet connection is available. A predefined report automatically populates as the data is uploaded. It ranks and visualises the engagement data in an accessible, actionable way. At the current stage this is prototyped using the research platform Qualtrics.


Co-creation Session

Children and caregivers are invited to join community co-creation sessions. Depending on cultural contexts, the sessions are conducted separately for caregivers of different genders and children of different ages. Activities such as 5 Whys, H-Assessments and dot voting are used to explore pain points in more depth, capture current sanitation behaviours and to develop and rank potential improvements to sanitation designs with the community. The session also enables interaction with WASH engineers and other decision-makers so that community insights and input can directly influence sanitation design alterations.


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