“To prevent the spread of diseases through the design & disseminatination of a new handwashing unit for communal latrines in emergency response”
British Red Cross in partnership with ARUP, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Buthyl Products.
“The first step was to understand the problem and what would set a new design apart from what had been done before. This meant understanding the target population – refugees and displaced people; the setting – informal settlements and camps; and the context – the acute stages of a humanitarian crisis. During a visit to the Kyangwali refugee camp in Uganda, the team observed existing handwashing facilities to understand their common failings and gained valuable insight from refugees and volunteers.
A number of factors had to be taken into account in the design, including the problem of limited water supply, harsh environments, heavy usage, and the need for rapid deployment and efficient shipping. The team did further research into the strengths and shortcomings of existing products to feed into their new handwashing unit design, actively collaborating with experts in the humanitarian sector to validate their findings along the way.
As a result of months of research and design work, an innovative new prototype has now been created to provide an effective, durable and convenient way for displaced people to access safe handwashing. Most importantly, the design is open source, meaning anyone working in this field around the world can use it to better the situation for the communities they are working with.
To further improve the design and measure its effectiveness at changing behaviour, the team is now looking to test the unit in different contexts out in the field, from training weekends with the British Army Reserves, to further deployments in refugee camps in Uganda.
This unique collaboration represents a new way of working within the sector to tackle complex challenges. The team comprised experts from across Arup’s international development, product design, water and human factors teams; British Red Cross’ WASH and health advisors; and LSHTM’s hygiene and behavioural change researchers.
The project was undertaken as part of Arup’s Community Engagement Global Challenge initiative, which aims to collaborate with others to co-create innovative scalable solutions that address systemic challenges aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
If you are interested in the project and would like to read more about it, please visit: https://www.arup.com/projects/handwashing-in-emergencies