arrow_backEmergency WASH

F.7 Sani Tweaks

Sani Tweaks is a series of communication tools and interactive online and face-to-face sessions intended to inform technical field staff, encourage them to consult and listen to sanitation users and inspire them to make continuous improvements to their designs. It is these small ‘tweaks’ that ultimately make the difference between whether someone uses a latrine or not.

Studies have shown that agencies often fail to adequately consult or collect and act on feedback from the users of the latrines they build. This leads many people – especially women and girls – to stop using the latrines as they find them inaccessible, unsuitable and unsafe. To address this, Oxfam developed Sani Tweaks, a series of communications tools and training sessions that promote best practices in sanitation through a continuous process of ‘consult, modify, consult’. The foundation of the Sani Tweaks approach is a checklist T.2. It outlines the key questions and considerations for WASH practitioners, in consultation with the users, for the construction of emergency Sanitation Facilities P.4. Importantly, Sani Tweaks also promotes best practices by targeting Behaviour Change (chapter  B ) in WASH practitioners so that sanitation programmes are based on and responsive to the needs of users. The resources have been designed using a range of adult learning methods and communication styles to engage as wide a group of WASH practitioners as possible.

Tools and Methods used

Tools for consulting the user

  • Assessment Checklist T.2
  • Focus Group Discussion T.14
  • Observation T.28
  • Key Informant Interview T.23
  • Transect Walk T.52
  • Community Mapping T.7
  • Participatory Monitoring M.5

Tools to roll out Sani Tweaks

Sani Tweaks website, checklist, booklet, videos and training programme. 


The Sani Tweaks approach applies to all contexts. It is particularly relevant for emergency WASH responses where sanitation facilities are often constructed quickly with minimal consultation with users. The Sani Tweaks checklist supports WASH actors in the first phase of emergency responses. It serves as an aide-memoire for the main elements of sanitation provision and the key questions to ask users to support the provision of facilities and services P.4 that best meet their needs and protection concerns. 

The Sani Tweaks tools have the advantage of being applicable to multiple contexts and at different stages of a humanitarian response. Furthermore, the tools can be used to continuously strengthen the capacity of teams throughout a response, using different checklists, videos and booklets at different points. The tools reinforce the importance of consultation with users and allow WASH practitioners to put themselves in the shoes of the communities they serve. 

Main Requirements / Investments Needed

The Sani Tweaks communication tools and approach do not require additional or specialist human resources; they are accessible to all existing WASH practitioners. Sani Tweaks does require a willingness to listen and learn from sanitation users and for WASH practitioners to apply the ‘consult, modify, consult’ approach in their work. The principles in Sani Tweaks should be incorporated into regular programme activities, not implemented as stand-alone projects. The Sani Tweaks tools have been purposefully developed to be easily adapted to a range of circumstances and training needs. For those unable to attend a Sani Tweaks workshop, the open-access tools are on Oxfam’s website in several languages. The Sani Tweaks learning platform (under development) will allow a self-paced exploration of best sanitation practices. The Sani Tweaks materials are available to all WASH practitioners and agencies are actively encouraged to adapt the tools according to their needs, for example changing colours, logos and wording to facilitate context-specific use.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Sani Tweaks workshops have been held in many countries with a high level of satisfaction. Feedback on the communication tools and resources to date has been overwhelmingly positive and has prompted the ongoing development of additional tools to meet the learning needs of WASH practitioners. Initial evaluations show that participation in Sani Tweaks workshops and the use of Sani Tweaks tools prompts practitioners to change their approach, consulting more regularly with users and ‘tweaking’ sanitation facilities to improve their privacy, comfort and safety.


  • Consult with users, modify designs, make changes to sanitation facilities and consult again

  • Put yourself in the shoes of the user – would you feel comfortable using the latrines that you have built?


  • Do not consult without making a change; responding to users’ feedback to improve sanitation facilities is vital to address concerns, build trust and increase the use of the facilities

  • Do not view consultation and sanitation provision as a one-off action – excreta disposal and the improvement of conditions for users is a continuous process

Practical Example

The ‘Ask Andy’ videos on the Oxfam Sani Tweaks webpage highlight two practical examples of making sanitation facilities safer and more private. The videos show simple tweaks that can be made to latrine designs. The tweaks address common issues often encountered in the construction of emergency sanitation facilities that lead to a decrease in use, by women and girls in particular. These practical examples apply to different organisations, countries and contexts for emergency response.

Key Decision Critria

Response Phase
Acute Response
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Protracted Crisis
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HP Component
Preconditions and Enabling Environment
Community Engagement and Participation
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Assessment, Analysis and Planning
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Social and Behaviour Change
Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL)
Target Group
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Older People
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Persons with Disabilities
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Local Leaders
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Society as a whole
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Application Level
Individual / Household
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Community / Municipality
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Target Behaviour
Hand Hygiene
Sanitation Related Behaviour
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Water Related Behaviour
Menstrual Hygiene
Food Hygiene
Personal Hygiene
Environmental Hygiene
Vector Control
Solid Waste Management
Infection Prevention and Control
Hygiene Away from Home


To promote best sanitation practices through improved consultation and listening to sanitation users