How we work
Water: The rapid supply of clean water to affected populations is vital. Oxfam work covers from water trucking to groundwater development by rehabilitation and construction of boreholes and wells, spring catchments, water treatment plants and water distribution networks. As well as providing clean drinking water, or household filters and the ability to collect and store the water safely, Oxfam ensures there are facilities for showering and clothes washing.
Safe excreta management: Safe disposal of human excreta is the first barrier to reduce the transmission of disease outbreaks such as diarrhoea and cholera. Oxfam provides and supports latrine construction and rehabilitation at the community level, in camps for displaced people, schools and health centres. This is done in consultation with the users and often with long term sustainability in mind. It is often the case with displacement that what starts out as temporary often becomes long-term. The average refugee camp lasts 17 years.
Solid Waste Management, Drainage and Vector Control: Poor waste management contaminates water sources and creates vector (mosquitoes) breeding sites. Oxfam provides and promotes domestic and community waste collection and management; improves drainages to avoid stagnant water; and, promotes cleaning campaigns to avoid vector breeding sites.
Raising awareness of public health risks and preventive practices: Awareness raising through effective and culturally appropriate communication media is vital. In previous Oxfam programmes this has included street theatre, radio broadcasts, puppet shows, story telling, songs composed by local musicians, discussion groups, videos, flash cards, and posters.
Community mobilisation: This helps to ensure target populations are enabled to make and implement decisions relating to their health and well-being. Local stakeholders are encouraged to be involved in identifying problems and solutions, the needs of vulnerable groups and individuals, and mechanisms for ensuring access to and maintenance of water and sanitation facilities.
Distribution of items essential for health and hygiene: This may include soap, handwashing devices and clean water containers. The provision of culturally appropriate material for women to use for menstrual protection and facilities to enable hand washing at key times are important considerations. Other items may be included in accordance with available resources and community priorities.
Health data monitoring: morbidity and mortality data collected from available health centres or NGOs working in the area are important for monitoring disease trends and if necessary targeting areas with disease outbreaks. Monitoring access and use of the water and sanitation facilities is vital for understanding the effect of the programme and making timely adjustments when required.