Skip to main content

Impact stories

Creating sanitation standards for emergency responses in Vanuatu

Following the development of the sanitation technical standards and guidelines for rural areas of Vanuatu, Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) NGO Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Australia is working with Vanuatu’s Department of Health to build on this work, and create sanitation and hygiene standards for emergency responses.

Liaising with key water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) stakeholders, members of the community, and the Vanuatu government, the project is providing insights into sanitation design for challenging environments. It is also piloting new technologies.

For this project, EWB Australia is being supported by engineering firm Arup, who have been working on the project remotely from Melbourne. Arup has been assessing existing guidelines and responses, drafting emergency guidelines, and developing designs for sanitation units that can be deployed in an emergency.

This project is focusing on compiling consistent emergency sanitation guidelines, and the team has been able to draw heavily on situational and traditional knowledge, as well as globally recognised standards. A planning and regulatory review is ensuring solutions align with the longer-term objectives of the country.

EWB Australia want to ensure all infrastructure recommendations can be built and implemented by Vanuatu’s local communities, with limited outside support. Easily sourced local building materials and locally available labour are critical to meeting this objective. As for any project, community engagement has been crucial to ensure that solutions are culturally appropriate and responsive to the various environments that are a feature of Vanuatu’s unique landscape.

Preparing a slab for a trial sanitation unit
Preparing a slab for a trial sanitation unit. Credit: EWB Australia.
Back to top