WASH – water, sanitation, and hygiene – is a fundamental need, vital to everyone. And having proper sanitation systems, clean water to drink, and hygiene education can mean the difference between life and death, especially for kids. These services make up the building blocks of successful and healthy communities. But when refugees are forced from their homes and living in previously uninhabited areas, these elements are too often missing from their lives. That’s where we come in.
Systems to Save Lives
In refugee camps and underserved places around the world, we work to build sanitation infrastructure, clean water taps, and provide hygiene education to families and community leaders. And we do this work in a way that offers a well-rounded approach for families. First, we mobilize communities themselves to participate in the design and management of WASH infrastructure and interventions, with special attention paid to gender imbalances, extreme vulnerability, and making sure that children can safely access services.
We then work with them to establish, rehabilitate, and upgrade infrastructure. We build gender-separated latrines and bathing facilities that are culturally appropriate and accessible to people with special needs. We foster safer environments by building appropriate solid waste management systems, storm water drainage, preventing soil erosion, and stopping the spread of disease through insect control.
Importantly, we engage with leaders in the community who can help assure that the systems remain functional, even without ARC. We work with community stakeholders, authorities, and business leaders to develop strong management and operational models that work for everyone. Building resilience and emergency response preparedness is key, particularly in areas affected by recurring crises and extreme weather or natural disasters. That’s why building infrastructure, as well as developing a sustainable management system that works, is so important to the future of refugee communities.
Nakivale Settlement in Uganda is a prime example of this work, where we are the sole water provider for the 100,000 refugees living there. We use an extensive pipeline system, stemming from a nearby lake, to reach the farthest corners of the settlement. Through our thousands of access points, families can provide safe, clean drinking water to their kids. And, in many cases, the communities themselves manage the water points, helping to encourage responsibility and sustainable management systems.
ARC currently provides WASH support in:
- The Democratic Republic of Congo – Eastern Congo with returnees and formerly displaced populations.
- Myanmar – people living in the rural parts of Mon State in Southeast Myanmar
- Rwanda – in refugee camps across the country, mainly serving Congolese and Burundian refugees
- Somalia – displaced families, returnees, and underserved communities in Mogadishu, Kismayo and the rural and nomadic people of Lower Juba region
- South Sudan – displaced populations and communities in Eastern Equatoria and North Bahr el Ghazal
- Sudan – displaced populations in South and East Darfur
- Syria – displaced populations living in collective shelters in Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo governorates
- Thailand – in three refugee camps on the Thai-Myanmar border with refugees from Myanmar
- Uganda – refugees in Nakivale Settlement, from the DRC, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and several other countries.