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Community Engagement in Sanitation: A Landscape Review

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Despite its perceived importance, the evidence suggests that community engagement in all sectors of humanitarian response is often limited and rarely monitored or evaluated. Sanitation projects seem to involve the community only in the construction phase as a paid labour force, or as a cash-for-work initiative.

In response to this the Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) launched a challenge in 2017 ‘to understand how to design, implement, and evaluate approaches to user-centred sanitation that incorporate rapid community engagement and are appropriate for the first stage of rapid-onset emergencies’ (defined as the first twelve weeks post crisis). A component of this challenge involved undertaking a landscape review of existing community engagement practice and approaches that could be used to provide a background resource for challenge participants.

This review was carried out by Oxfam, the HIF’s Research and Evaluation Partner for the project. It draws on published and grey literature and interviews with 15 key informants. It provides a ‘summary of approaches that make a difference’ using rapid community engagement in an emergency.


Date: 13 September 2018