Water- and sanitation-related diseases cause significant deaths and sickness in emergencies. Even without the disruption of an emergency, diarrhoea kills more than 30,000 children per week worldwide. In emergency situations, epidemics of diarrhoeal diseases can also cause a high death toll in the adult population. During protracted war and conflict in particular, simple diarrhoeal diseases can often kill more people than the fighting itself.
The Numbers are Staggering
On average, 255 million people are directly impacted by natural disasters each year. More than 42 million people are displaced by violent conflicts at this very moment. In the over-crowded camp environments that arise, and without adequate sanitation in place, people are exposed to dangerous and lethal pathogens contained in faeces. As a result, the toll on human life rapidly multiplies. Diarrhoeal diseases alone contribute to up to 50% of all deaths in camp situations and more than 80% of these are children under two years old.
During times of armed conflict and the collapse of communities, women, adolescent girls and children constitute 80% of the world’s refugees and displaced persons. In these situations, the roles of women remain crucial. Alongside men, they work to preserve or re-establish social order. Women continue to care for the children, the elderly and injured combatants despite the chaos of disaster or flight, and the social disruption that follows. Even though resources are scarce and needs are much greater, the displaced families depend heavily on the ability of women to adapt, to continue to cook, clean, fetch water and care for children.
In the initial phases of emergency response, the need for sanitation solutions that can secure effective disease prevention at the source is paramount. The promotion of hygienic practices including hand washing with soap after defecating or urinating, and the safe disposal of excreta, are the most critical routines that can be implemented to prevent widespread diarrhoeal infection. Preventing diarrhoeal infection by promoting hygienic practices should thus be priority number one in an emergency situation.
If they are available in camp, shared latrines pose challenges. Often used by a large number of people, they are difficult to keep clean and the process of emptying them is complex. As a result, the latrines are often overflowing. This often results in people defecating out in the open, which spreads dangerous pathogens from the faeces in the camp environment. This increases the risk of contamination and often results in women being victims of harassment and sexual violence when having to defecate out in the open during day and night.
With women and children foremost in mind, all of the Peepoople products, models and processes have been developed to save lives and improve living conditions in times of emergency.
Immediate Disease Control
The Peepoople response to an emergency can in short be expressed as: saving lives after disaster strikes through the rapid implementation of secure excreta handling and hand washing practices in-home/shelter. This will contribute to improving the health of the affected population and to prevent the outbreak of major epidemics. The short-term objective being to limit the spread of water and sanitation related diseases within the first month following the outbreak of the disaster.
The Peepoo toilet is the basis for making immediate disease prevention possible. With the unique sanitation technology, ease of distribution and proven high user acceptability, combined with its biodegradability, Peepoo makes it safe and easy to dispose of human waste without contaminating the environment.
In emergency sanitation systems, the organisms that cause epidemics of diarrhoeal diseases are mainly connected to pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella and Vibrio cholera, but also VECT, Shigella and campylobacts can be considered. All of these organisms are inactivated at a much faster rate than the Ascaris roundworms. and at temperatures above 20°C, the Peepoo has the capability to render these types of bacteria inactive in less than a week. At temperatures over 30°C the inactivation is even shorter; only three days. And the difficult Ascaris eggs which are not causing epidemic diseases are still activated after approximately four weeks at a temperature of 30°C.
Peepoo is a toilet for in-home/shelter use. This allows all sections (women, men, children, vulnerable groups) of the affected population rapid, safe and comfortable sanitation access at all times of the day and night. After use, Peepoo is directly closed with a knot and the dangerous pathogens in the faeces are instantly closed off from the immediate environment. Because the Peepoo is odour-free for 24 hours, it can be conveniently stored in-house/shelter. Peepoo does not begin to biodegrade until the sanitation process is complete and the excrement is harmless.
Peepoople Humanitarian Response
Building upon the unique qualities of Peepoo together with an effective distribution model, the Peepoople Humanitarian Response Model is designed to reach 50,000 beneficiaries within three week’s time. This is done by combining the distribution of Peepoos with already established routines for Hygiene Promotion and soap distribution. The model is implemented through partnerships between Peepoople and established relief organisations that have extensive field presences. The partnership is on equal basis, including mutual fundraising. In addition, Peepoople staff will work on site embedded inside the partnership organisation.
In short, the model is built up of three pillars, which could be summarised as People, Products and Processes. The People required for the implementation are the international personnel that are ready to be flown into the affected area on very short notice, national personnel who normally are a part of the relief organisation’s country staff and the people recruited from the affected community.
The Products are the relief goods needed, organised as personal one-month self-supporting sanitation kits, combined with supporting products for those with special needs. It also includes equipment for collection, material for training as well as staff and communication equipment.
The Processes are rapid models to reach 50,000 people in three week’s time, including demonstration manuals, basic hygiene promotion as well as promoter training programs and manuals. This part also includes the specific logistic framework that’s needed.
The promotion and distribution organisation is built up as a cascade system, where trained hygiene promoters, who are supported by the international staff, supervise outreach workers. The Peepoople Promoter Coordinator is responsible for the training of eight to 10 Peepoo Promoters who in their turn has the responsibility for training and monitoring eight Community Mobilisers each. Thus, one Peepoo Promoter and eight Community Mobilisers constitute a team, each team with a target to reach seven to eight affected households per working day. Each team is, as much as possible, comprised of an equal number of men and women.
Depending on the situation, the distribution and promotion may be slightly adapted. In situations with people in transition, or where they are newly arrived at a camp or settlement, a mass promotion may be necessary. But as soon as possible an in-home/shelter distribution and promotion should be started in order to secure that all sections (women, men, children, vulnerable groups) of the affected population are properly reached. The individual demonstration, face-to-face, is by far the most effective way of promoting and securing awareness of hygiene practices.
How it is Done
After the assessment and overall response planning, the implementation starts with the identification and recruitment of volunteers on site. The Peepoo Promoters are preferably from the Peepoople partner’s local staff and as such have the skills required in health promotion. The Community Mobilisers should be recruited from among the affected community if possible. Efforts should be made to have a gender balance and representative mix of people from different social and ethnic groups
Each Peepoo Promoter is given an intensive, one-day intensive training session addressing: Why and How to use Peepoo, Hand washing, Identification of vulnerable groups and How to train adults. The Promoters, in turn, conduct a similar training course with the Community Mobilisers, but the How to train adults module is replaced by How to work with communities. Follow-up training is conducted during the promotion and distribution phase. A key aspect of the Peepoo promotion is to identify existing local capacity and skills. A network of peer educators might be established, for example, teenagers or young mothers or Peepoople ”clubs”.
The set-up of the distribution system is the responsibility of the Peepoople Logistic Coordinator. He or she works very closely with the Peepoople partner making sure that the relief goods are passed through customs with as few delays as possible. They also secure the support functions, including a Peepoo service centre with the purpose of serving the day-to-day promotion activities. The Peepoople Logistic Coordinator is also responsible for the planning and set up of the Peepoo collection system and to build the capacity of local staff in readiness for handover at the end of each mission.
The target area is selected by the Peepoople partner and planned together with the Peepoople Promoter Coordinator. Each team consisting of one Peepoople Promoter and eight Community Mobilisers are given defined sections of the area to cover. The Community Mobilisers carry Peepoos in ergonomically designed rucksacks. The rucksacks are filled every morning at the Peepoople service centre. Every day’s activity starts here. Two of the Mobilisers bring the Peepoo support products, Peepoo Kiti and Peepoo Yizi for demonstration and assessment of needs. If acute diarrhoea or cholera is suspected, medical help is directly called for.
Each team keeps a daily log concerning the progress of the promotion and the Peepoo distribution/promotion is followed up with a rapid household assessment of 10 to 20 houses chosen at random in each area. The decision of handover to the community or local NGO is the joint decision of Peepoople and Partner. The handover should not take place before the continuation of dignified and secure sanitation is in place.
Building Strong Partnerships
Please contact us to discuss a partnership with Peepoople:
Head of Sales and Partner Relations
+46-735-46 39 51