Water- and sanitation-related diseases cause significant deaths and sickness in emergencies and refugee/IDP camps. 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.
“Peepoo is particularly appropriate in first phase, floods and urban emergencies, but can also be deployed in specific development contexts like slums where it can generate micro business.”
Dr. Jean Lapegue, Senior Advisor Wash, ACF-France
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 Peepoo products have been developed to save lives and improve living conditions in times of emergency.
Immediate Disease Control
Peepoo can help saving lives after disaster strikes through the rapid implementation of secure excreta handling and hand washing practices on household level. 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.
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. At temperatures above 20°C, the Peepoo has the capability to render these types of bacteria inactive in a week. And the difficult Ascaris eggs which are not causing epidemic diseases are still activated after approximately four weeks.
Peepoo is a toilet suitable for house-hold usage. 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 on house-hold level.
Peepoo in Humanitarian Response
Peepoo partners have considered Peepoo particularly suitable in refugee and IDP camps. Especially where vulnerable groups, such as women, children and disabled, have specific needs when it comes to sanitation, safety and dignity.
For emergency response, Peepoo has proven to be well applicable in early phases or difficult contexts such as floods and urban environments.
The Peepoo solution was developed with women and children foremost in mind. With a household sanitation option, women and children become less exposed to sexual harassment. Elderly and disabled also get a dignified sanitation solution at home or in shelter.
Children are enthusiastic and fast adopters of Peepoo, appreciating it for being accessible, clean and without flies. Since Peepoo is easy to use for children it is also a good solution for school toilets. To engage the youngest, specific training material has been developed with a small bear that speaks to the children.
Peepoos are usually bought by humanitarian agencies and governments and handed out to people for free. Implementing partners are offered Peepoo training as well as support during the course of the project. Handbooks, field manuals and IEC material are part of the Peepoo implementation support tool kit.
Peepoo comes in a Personal Pack, each containing 28 Peepoo toilets and one Moyla (disposal bag). Distribution is usually integrated with already established routines for hygiene promotion and supply of hygiene kits. Initially the families can collect their used Peepoos on household level in the Moyla. Community collection is then set up and excreta can safely be removed from the community and disposed without contaminating the environment.
No fixed infrastructure is needed for the Peepoo system and since Peepoo is compact in size, it is available from day one after distribution. This also enables efficient transport, stock keeping and quick distribution.
A 20ft container with Euro pallets holds 11 000 Peepoo Packs and 2 200 Kitis, sufficient to supply approximately 2 200 families (11 000 people) for one month.