Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Sector Planning guidances allow you to environmentally align your project strategy design.

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VEHA - Sector Planning Guidance

Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH)
Hygiene promotion

Hygiene promotion

Sector result

Ensure access to water and sanitation for communities while sustainably managing land, water and ecosystems.


Define the indicators

% of population with adequate hygiene practices which includes sustainable management of natural resources (particularly water)

Proportion of households/communities having access to soap


Ask Questions

Have you incorporated environmental health / environmental sanitation messages into your health and hygiene promotion activities and the means by which people of concern can act on those messages as per Sphere WASH Standards 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3?

Have you taken measures to minimize the volume, weight, and plastic use in packaging and waste from distribution of hygiene items and/or bottled water, and planned for the sanitary composting, re-use, re-purposing, recycling, or if necessary, safe disposal of hygiene items/bottles were necessary?

Have you actively sought alternatives to creating paper and plastic litter and waste from single-use sensitization tools, information materials, and “props” whilst designing your hygiene promotion campaign?

Have you planned to test your hygiene messages to avoid any unintended community responses?


Include a Source of Verification

Include messages such as environmental hygiene practices and acceptance (cultural/type of NFIs) into your hygiene assessment, and monitor relevancy

Ensure environmental criteria (e.g. sourcing, sustainability, packing, and transport) are agreed, to help ensure sustainable sourcing and distribution of appropriate WASH NFIs

Include and monitor sustainable waste management within distribution plans

Include a test for environmental sustainability related to hygiene promotion messages within your awareness campaign

Measure behavior changes in relation to water usage and preservation


Consult Guidance & Examples

· Understand how communities use and perceive hygiene and provide effective communication regarding the delivery, use, re-use/recycling/repurposing / safe disposal of hygiene items, and the sustainable use and maintenance of WASH infrastructure.

· Carefully identify hygiene items and hygiene kits for distribution, based on the culture and context, minimizing waste production and disposal. Strategic selection of items for distribution can reduce resource consumption and waste generation. For example, where locally procured items have a shorter usable life, this results in increased waste, which is often not recyclable or compostable (e.g. lower quality buckets, jerry cans, etc).

· Consider the quality and useful lifespan of items available in the local or international market before purchasing. Negotiate with suppliers to minimize the amount of wrapping and packaging and remove as much as possible prior to distribution. Promote solutions that do not rely on plastics, such as handwashing with soap bars instead of liquid soap or alcohol gel. Aim to reuse/repurpose NFIs when they reach the end of their intended life, whilst ensuring the risk of spread of zoonotic diseases are minimized. There should be a collection and disposal/reuse plan for NFIs from the time of procurement. Consider the future need of the items post-crisis, and if multi-functional items are an option.

· Identify sustainable practices that reduce the use of and conserve resources used for hygiene activities. Use and properly maintain WASH infrastructure

· Systems for regulating water usage reduces water wastage and promote more sustainable behaviors; local community structures can enforce water usage regulations. Alternatively, pricing schemes also influence behavior whilst subsidizing operational and maintenance costs.

· Minimize use of leaflets for awareness-raising where possible and use other means of awareness-raising such as social media, radio, TV, promoters, murals, community theatre, etc. Test hygiene messages to check that they are not being taken to extremes, especially where this might result in excessive use or disposal of useful items. Overuse of alcohol or caustic cleaning agents instead of normal soaps is harmful to the environment.

Look at: UNHCR Hygiene Promotion Guidelines 2017

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