arrow_backEmergency WASH

Reliable Planning of Hygiene Promotion Interventions in Emergencies

The Hygiene Promotion in Emergencies Compendium is a comprehensive compilation of the most relevant and sector-reviewed hygiene promotion components, tools, methods and approaches. It draws on the latest initiatives, materials and evidence, disaggregating hygiene promotion into its functional components, clarifying terminology and providing guidance on the most appropriate solutions in a given context. It is primarily a capacity strengthening tool that provides a systematic starting point to access relevant summarised information and supports hygiene promotion planning, implementation and decision making.

   Start now

Decision Support Tool

The Compendium is primarily a capacity strengthening tool and resource that supports planning, implementation and decision making for specific hygiene promotion interventions. It provides a systematic starting point to access relevant summarised information on hygiene promotion with details and links to additional practical guidance as well as publications, case studies, videos and training materials where available. It facilitates informed decision making by providing the necessary framework to ensure that key hygiene promotion components are considered and helps to identify tools and frameworks appropriate for a given context.

Real-Time Configuration and Sharing

The Compendium allows for a targeted and context-specific filtering of tools and approaches. All individual configurations made when using the available filter options can be easily shared with interested colleagues and other WASH practitioners. All hygiene promotion components, tools and frameworks can be pre-selected and shared or further discussed with an online-community of WASH experts and practitioners.

From Relief to Development

The Compendium addresses a broad spectrum of scenarios that humanitarian WASH practitioners may encounter when planning and implementing hygiene promotion interventions. Humanitarian WASH interventions primarily focus on immediate life-saving measures and public health protection. However, the humanitarian community is increasingly confronted with longer-term protracted crises that stretch beyond an emergency response. Humanitarian WASH professionals may work in both urban settings and displacement camp contexts. They need to address the WASH needs of refugees, internally displaced people and host communities. The Compendium addresses this complex reality by including hygiene promotion components, tools and frameworks that can be adapted for use in a variety of scenarios, contributing to complementarity between the humanitarian and development realms.

Target Audience

The Compendium mainly targets humanitarian staff, local first responders, engineers, planners, hygiene promoters, communications and community engagement professionals, government representatives, academic institutions, capacity strengthening agencies and other WASH professionals involved in humanitarian response, preparedness, stabilisation and recovery activities.

Open-Source Tool

All provided information and graphics are open-source and free of charge. Permission is granted for sharing and reproduction, in whole or part, for education, scientific, humanitarian or development related purposes except those involving commercial sale, and provided that full citation of the source is made.


The development of the Compendium has been a collaborative effort of Global WASH Cluster partners, coordinated by the German WASH Network and with contributions and support from a multitude of international WASH experts, organisations and institutions. It will be constantly updated and users are encouraged to provide direct feedback in order to ensure the quality and to further improve the platform.

Why Hygiene Promotion?

Hygiene promotion that supports behaviours, community engagement and actions to reduce the risk of disease is fundamental to a successful WASH response. It is increasingly recognised that hygiene promotion is well placed to respond to broader public health programming and to the outbreak of diseases, such as Ebola or COVID-19, where a comprehensive emergency WASH intervention may not be required. Some of the key reasons why hygiene promotion must be included in a WASH or outbreak response are:

  • Hygiene promotion aims to ensure the effective, sustained and optimal use of WASH facilities by all users. If water, toilets or handwashing facilities are provided without consideration of the context or users, they may not be used optimally by all members of the community. Nor will they be maintained.
  • Hygiene promotion aims to involve people in decisions about the WASH or outbreak response, such as the design, siting and management of facilities or how best to communicate with a community. It enables affected communities to participate in the programme.
  • Hygiene promotion can identify different needs and concerns within the affected population, so that the programme responds to those needs and helps to increase equitable access to WASH.
  • Hygiene promotion provides a mechanism to actively listen and respond to feedback from different community members. It can increase the accountability of the response. There is always an opportunity for dialogue and discussion with those affected – even in the acute phase of an emergency when it can be overlooked.
  • Hygiene promotion carries out formative assessments to understand and respond to the social and behavioural determinants that affect people’s health and hygiene in a specific context.
  • Hygiene promotion’s emphasis on community engagement and participation can link humanitarian work to longer-term development.
  • Hygiene promotion may be one of the most cost-effective ways of improving public health outcomes.


Since 2018, I have been promoting Wash’Em within the WASH sector. I have observed a hunger to improve how we do hygiene, yet we struggle to change our day to day practices, accepting new knowledge but not adapting our practices. This compendium brings together some nice projects and approaches, choose one and make the space to use it

Tom Heath WASH Technical Advisor, ACF

Hygiene promotion is a crucial element to understand and develop good hygiene practices that stimulate positive attitudes towards cleanliness needed for good health. Malteser International promotes good hygiene behavior practices among the refugees and local communities in the West Nile area settlements in northern Uganda. This Emergency Hygiene Compendium is very useful for us to get an overview of hygiene promotion applied in a humanitarian context and it allows us to pick up new ideas that might be relevant for our context.

Emmanuela Gore Arua, South Sudan, Malteser International

This Compendium provides an excellent overview and guide on tools and methodologies for hygiene promotion that can be applied in a humanitarian context throughout the project cycle. The insights given by experts with a diverse background makes the compendium an essential reference document for all who are keen to learn about the current developments and best practices in the field of emergency hygiene interventions

Arno Coerver Global Advisor for WASH, Environment and Infrastructure, Malteser International

By developing this publication, I hope that we managed to provide tools that can efficiently and applicably answer all kinds of questions that come up when planning and implementing projects in hygiene promotion. I sincerely hope that it will lead to support and inspiration for people in this important field.

Miriam Harter Behavior Change Expert , Ranas

WASH is crucial in the fight against the spread of infectious diseases. The Covid-19 pandemic has once again made that very clear to us. It therefore remains one of the major priorities of our German engagement both in humanitarian aid and development to realise the human right to water and sanitation - including the closely related improvement of hygiene conditions - and with particular emphasis on the affected people in emergency situations. I will continue to strongly advocate for this and the Compendium of Hygiene Promotion in Emergencies can make an important contribution to this.

Luise Amtsberg Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance, German Federal Forreign Office

At our program in Juba, South Sudan, we promote good hygiene practices in underserved areas through the Community-Led Total Sanitation approach, which aims at hygiene behavior change based on self-realization of high-risk hygiene practices like open defecation. The Emergency Hygiene Compendium is a useful tool for field practitioners to get access to a comprehensive overview of hygiene promotion tools, approaches and methods that we can use in our WASH interventions with the underserved communities in South Sudan.

Minala Betty Santo Juba, South Sudan, Malteser International

This comprehensive hygiene compendium for humanitarian contexts arrives just in time to help overcome COVID-19. This pandemic showed again how important hygiene is in the prevention and containment of epidemics.

Roland Hansen Head of Regional Group Africa and Focal Point WASH, Malteser International

As hygiene promoters, we complement the provision of water and sanitation facilities by engaging and mobilizing affected communities. Through household visits and community consultations, we are able to gain first-hand knowledge on their needs, challenges and preferences. This new HP compendium will support us in discovering new approaches and methods to better engage with communities.

Thun Chanthy, Chen Sarith, Pum Kanha, Som Et Red Cross Hygiene Promotion Volunteers in Tuol Sdey District, Cambodia Red Cross

The “Compendium of Hygiene Promotion in Emergencies” is an excellent example of joint sector collaboration. For the first time it brings together the wealth of existing and state-of-the-art sector knowledge on hygiene promotion in one well-structured document. The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) and its secretariat hosted by GIZ is delighted to continue its support of the WASH in Emergencies Compendium series by hosting the corresponding online platform and thereby helping to make the Compendium and related information easily accessible to WASH practitioners worldwide.

Arne Panesar Head of GIZ Sector Program “Water Policy - Innovations for Resilience” and SuSanA Secretariat, GIZ

Hygiene Promotion is developing all the time and so it should. The compendium represents where we are now and provides summaries of the most important components, tools and frameworks and emphasises the importance of putting people affected by crisis at the heart of what we do. Compiling it has been a collaboration between many different people involved in water, sanitation and hygiene, offering different perspectives and ideas. We hope the online version will continue to capture these innovations and developments – supporting practitioners to work more effectively and accountably.

Suzanne Ferron HP Compendium Author and Editor

For me the HP compendium will have a vital role supporting the efforts of quality and coordination among humanitarian WASH actors as well as their responsibility towards a more sustainable future. Due to its participatory approach ensuring that a wide range of actors and experts contributed, it provides profound technical guidance, hands on examples including gender and disability mainstreaming within WASH as well as environmental aspects. This compendium should be the constant companion to any WASH actor!

Stephanie Schramm Technical Field Specialist, Region Syria, Humanity and Inclusion

Hygiene promotion has become a fundamental pillar in the training of promoters, brigades or any activity at the community level that the Venezuelan Red Cross carries out, since through the identification of problems, the necessary tools are developed to provide a timely response. The work does not end, it is a challenge, but from the Red Cross we believe that through an integrated approach from the local level we will achieve it.

Andrea Paola Acosta Volunteer at the Zulia Branch, Cruz Roja Venzolana

Hygiene promotion goes hand in hand with 'WASH hardware' - the taps, latrines and handwashing facilities. You cannot have one without the other, and to ensure our WASH responses are appropriate and effective in improving health, dignity and well-being, we need to ensure that the community is at the core and that their voices and needs are listened to, acted on and responded to at every step. Although hygiene promotion is different for every situation, the aim of this compendium is to support implementers in systematic, quality and effective hygiene promotion which aligns with global standards and ensures no-one is left behind from accessing and benefiting from WASH. We are delighted to have been part of this great collaboration and immense work by a broad team of Hygiene Promoters, WASH and Public Health Specialists and Community Engagement Advisors who brought this compendium and wealth of information together. Hope you find it useful!

Alexandra Machado Soergel Senior Officer, WASH in Public Health, IFRC

Hygiene promotion is the key building block for successful WASH and is essential for building healthy and resilient communities. This compendium promotes many examples from our National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, highlighting the value of hygiene promotion in communicating and advocating people’s WASH needs, in strengthening accountability, and in enabling behaviour change. As an IFRC network of local responders, we act on local knowledge and community feedback, and ensure that communities - including the most vulnerable -are involved in decision making for WASH.

Jagan Chapagain Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

It has been proven that hygiene promotion is having great impact on reducing WASH related disease transmission. With the contributions from more than 100 experts representing various organizations, this hygiene promotion compendium will definitely benefit all field staffs involved in delivering WASH services in emergencies on designing and implementing hygiene promotion activities according to the local context.

Lasantha Herath Field Operations Coordinator, Thailand, Malteser International

This compendium cements the increasing importance of Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) in WASH programming. It brings together all the components of a comprehensive MHH response, which are captured in the dedicated chapter and mainstreamed throughout the document. To capture the complexity and multi-sectoral nature of MHM, we relied on the contributions from members of the global MHM in Emergencies working group across WASH, GBV, Education, Health and Child Protection.

Adrian Dongus Lead of the MHM in Emergencies Working Group, UNFPA

A compendium bringing hygiene knowledge together in a simple to understand and easy to use form is a great achievement and will help us in our field activities and with our team capacity building a lot!

Mohammed Abdulkadir Director, Organisation for Welfare and Development in Action, Ethiopia

Hygiene Promotion has been crucial in promoting healthy hygiene behaviors for children in MENA where many are facing very challenging contexts. We are very happy to see the HP compendium coming alive as it will support our RCRC volunteers in the adoption of multiple participatory tools, which will have a direct impact on the correct use and maintenance of WASH facilities and therefore, preventing disease transmission of water-related diseases.

Jamilee Doueihy Regional WASH Program Officer MENA, IFRC

I’m pleased to see the Hygiene Promotion Compendium available for use by all WASH practitioners. This Compendium has been a feat of collaboration, bringing together Hygiene Promotion, Public Health, Community Engagement and WASH specialists from across the sector to compile a wealth of hygiene promotion approaches and resources into one easily navigable space. I hope this resource supports the further promotion of hygiene as an essential and central component of quality WASH responses.

Michelle Farrington Public Health Promotion and Community Engagement Lead, Oxfam Global Humanitarian Team

I trust, this compendium will help users to implement people centered hygiene promotion activities to reach the right to life with dignity in humanitarian settings.

Oliver Hoffmann Public Health Advisor and Sphere Focal Point Germany, Johanniter

The Hygiene Promotion in Emergencies Compendium shows how effective coordination between +100 sector experts can provide a state-of-the-art compilation of hygiene promotion approaches in the sector. It complements well, the two first compendiums on emergency water and sanitation and offers a unique set of tools for hygiene programming and behavior change in humanitarian settings. The Global WASH Cluster fully supports the uptake of this new compendium by national humanitarian WASH coordination platforms and practitioners throughout the world. We will continue to be dedicated advocates and promoters of the compendium, as hygiene should be at the center of any public health and WASH responses for populations most affected by crisis.

Monica Ramos Global WASH Cluster (GWC) Coordinator, UNICEF

Knowledge alone is not sufficient to change behaviour. We must internalize it and make the decision to change.

Mary Omondi Humanitarian Support Personnel, Public Health Promotion/Community Engagement, Oxfam

In recent years the humanitarian sector has started to recognise the need to strengthen hygiene programming in emergencies. However this desire for change has been difficult to realise because of the challenges of navigating the diverse array of guidance documents and tools. This compendium will allow humanitarians to develop a common language about hygiene promotion in crisis-affected settings, to rapidly learn about effective approaches, and to compare and contrast the merits of these tools so that hygiene programming is increasingly evidence-based and contextualised.

Sian White London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), COVID-19 Hygiene Hub and Wash'Em

This compendium is concise, easy to use and informative. I hope this document will guide hygiene promotion practitioners in field to design appropriate and contextual interventions, even in emergencies and encourage community involvement through suitable modalities.

Niva Bajracharya Humanitarian Support Personnel, Public Health Promotion, Oxfam

Contributing to this compendium has been a great experience. The interaction with the co-authors has broadened my understanding of Hygiene Promotion beyond Social and Behaviour Change. I would like to encourage users to take advantage of the diverse content and approach Hygiene Promotion from different angels.

Max Friedrich Behavior Change Expert , Ranas

Hygiene promotion is a key and often neglected element of all Emergency WASH programmes. This Compendium is an up-to-date, essential reference guide. It provides an overview of hygiene promotion - with a strong emphasis on the importance of community engagement, outlines useful tools and approaches and provides helpful reference links for further information. Developed with wide collaboration, it has the potential to help all levels of staff from field staff to managers to achieve effective community-centred public health programmes.

Anne Lloyd HP Compendium Author

The development of the Hygiene Promotion in Emergencies Compendium and its corresponding online platform has been a unique sector effort trying to make the multifaceted wealth of available information and up-to-date knowledge on hygiene promotion accessible in a comprehensible, structured and systematic way. It provides all the essential information and practical recommendations to serve as a first go-to-point, reference guide and as a constant companion for all those involved in planning and implementing hygiene promotion interventions. It has been a real pleasure coordinating this initiative and I would like to thank the authors team, donors, and all involved sector experts for their invaluable contributions, continued support and their passionate work aiming at improving hygiene conditions worldwide and enable people to take action.

Rob Gensch Senior Coordinator WASH Capacity Development and HP Compendium Coordination, GTO

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates once more the importance to encourage behaviours and conditions that prevent and mitigate diseases. Hygiene promotion plays an ever greater role in humanitarian WASH response and demands better global collaboration. This publication with its around 100 contributors from more than 40 different organisations, institutions or networks is a great testament to such a collaborative sector effort. I hope it will be able to provide faster and more quality assistance, saving lives in times of dire need.

Thilo Panzerbieter Executive Director and German WASH Network Chair, GTO

Hygiene Promotion is not complicated but does require appropriate human resources and the application of a methodology. If a hygiene behaviour change methodology is not included from the onset of the project, and instead the approach relies on presumed messages, the result is often a limited uptake and adherence to positive changes in hygiene behaviours.

Rolando Walusche Saul Global WASH Technical Advisor, Catholic Relief Services

Having already used the water and sanitation compendia in our field offices, I am eager to use the hygiene compendium as well—as this will be extremely helpful in our planning and implementation of activities, as it will contain all of the tools, approaches, and methodologies for communicating hygiene messages in the field!

Mohamoud Hussein WASH Engineer, arche noVa Ethiopia

Today, although research has repeatedly confirmed the importance of hygiene promotion in complementing the WaSH response and reducing waterborne diseases, the humanitarian community still struggles to implement effective and context tailored HP programmes. Tomorrow the HP Compendium will be extremely important to make practitioners aware of technicity of HP and will provide methodologies and tools to a new generation of humanitarians who will give HP its due importance.

Alberto Acquistapace WASH Technical Advisor, Solidarités International

Hygiene is to public health what nutrition is to food: the most important factor, but also the most neglected… May this compendium help all of us to live in a safer environment!

Marc-Andrè Bünzli WASH Advisor, Co-Chair of the WASH Road Map 2025, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

This compendium is a must read for WASH practitioners. An excellent reference; an encyclopedia for diverse approaches in hygiene promotion

Michael Wicker Emergency WASH Senior Technical Advisor, World Vision

The full softcopy version of the 'Compendium of Hygiene Promotion in Emergencies' can be downloaded. If you are interested to get a hardcopy publication please contact us.

Download  Order the book


This is still a Beta Version!

The platform will be further enhanced in the coming weeks and months to include more language options and additional functionalities. Any comments and feedback that help improving and further developing the platform are highly appreciated.

Send Feedback