arrow_backEmergency WASH

A.9 Planning Frameworks

The planning phase of an intervention involves analysing and prioritising the information gathered during the assessment. It is a vital first step in any hygiene promotion (HP) intervention – even when there is pressure to act immediately. 

The planning process should involve as many representative stakeholders as possible. This does not, however, prevent immediate steps from being taken to address needs during the process - for example, soap can be provided at the same time as conducting an assessment of Menstrual Health and Hygiene P.7 needs.

A WASH plan must include the objectives and indicators for HP as well as the specific activities required to achieve the objectives, the resources to implement the programme (e.g. funding, staffing, training, equipment and time) and the assumptions that need to be managed if the programme is to succeed.

A variety of tools and references exist to support the WASH planning process such as: 

  • Sphere Standards: provides minimum standards and indicators (including the Core Humanitarian Standard, Protection Principles and Community Engagement Framework).
  • Stakeholder Analysis: examines who is interested and influential in the project T.49.
  • Problem Analysis: identifies the main problems and solutions using a problem tree and is a basis for developing a Logical Framework (T.25 and below).
  • Logical Framework Analysis T.25 or Theory of Change or Behaviour Change models B.2: provide a planning matrix or summary of the programme.
  • Human Resources Plan: assesses recruitment (staff and volunteers), management, training and support.
  • Hygiene Promotion Strategy and Communication Plan: identifies trusted means of communication for different audiences and how they will be reached and supported C.10
  • Action Plans: can be done weekly or monthly and be drawn up for specific groups or teams. Community groups and staff teams can draw up action plans and this can form a basis for reporting.
  • Monitoring and Reporting Framework: identifies key WASH indicators (including for participation and satisfaction), how they will be measured and what reports are required from whom and when M.2
  • Accountability Framework: identifies how feedback and complaints will be collected and acted upon (M.4 and F.23).

Plans must also identify and manage potential risks that could prevent or undermine implementation, e.g. insecurity, logistics or community resistance. If insecurity limits access, arrangements may have to be made for remote programming E.10 and C.8). 

A baseline can refer to the situation before the disaster A.3. For emergency programming, baseline data is drawn from the assessment data. The ‘baseline’ is the starting point for measuring the success of the programme. Indicators are developed to measure progress and impact, comparing the baseline with the ‘endline’ WASH situation when the programme ends. The indicators should include measures of community participation and satisfaction.

Process & Good Practice

  • Aim to reduce public health risk and maintain people’s dignity and give affected people a say in how the programme is designed and implemented. These aims are interrelated. A toilet that does not plan for accessibility, safety and privacy is not an adequate response. 

  • Consider a broad range of determinants that influence different people's health and behaviour in programme design, such as physical, environmental and social barriers and motivators as well as cognitive factors (i.e. how people think and feel). Hygiene promotion is not only about education and imparting information.

  • Refer to the following questions to plan an HP response: what risk practices are most widespread and who engages in them and why? Which are having the biggest impact on public health? What can be done to enable change and overcome the barriers to change (e.g. access to facilities, hygiene items, information and communication based on behavioural determinants, chapter  P , chapter  B  and chapter  C )? Who can help to influence change and how can all sections of the population be reached effectively through multiple delivery channels (e.g. through trusted communicators, mass media and edutainment, chapter  B  and chapter  C )? How can the affected community be involved in identifying and implementing appropriate solutions (chapter  E )? 

  • Carry out organisational planning collaboratively with all staff engaged in WASH, including the engineers P.9. The HP plan should be part of a holistic WASH response.  

  • Include local capacity in the plan A.6, such as partner organisations, civil society networks and markets. Identify ways in which local markets can be supported e.g. locally available materials, or the provision of cash P.8.

  • Consider how the intervention can contribute to the longer-term resilience of affected communities, e.g. through training and capacity strengthening, earthquake and flood resistant structures and by avoiding parallel structures for community outreach or maintenance of WASH facilities E.7.

  • Use different media and methods (mass, social, interpersonal, chapter  C  and chapter  T ) whilst recognising that, at its heart, HP must encourage community dialogue and discussion (chapter  E ). Pay attention to the content of communications, not just the methods (e.g. some methods may be fun and engaging but fail to convey the content).

  • Adapts plans in response to community feedback, Monitoring M.2 and changing circumstances. For example, distributions in kind may later be halted in favour of market-based interventions P.8. It may be helpful to pilot some initiatives and obtain feedback before large scale roll out.

  • Recruitment procedures (including the provision of job descriptions and adherence to codes of conduct) must be followed in order to reduce the risk of misconduct and abuse of power and to ensure effective programmes.



To use assessment data to identify the priority risks and needs and determine what needs to be done, how, by whom and when. 


  • Programme plans should use assessment data to identify priorities, develop objectives and strategies and mobilise resources. The priorities should be selected in collaboration with the affected population and coordinated with government and other sectors, e.g. health, nutrition, food security and shelter P.9.

  • Humanitarian organisations should support governments to fulfil their responsibility for the overall planning of the response. Plans should be aligned with pre-existing national strategies P.9.

  • Programme plans provide a summary of the intended programme for donors, programme staff and communities, contributing to Accountability M.4, transparency and, because staff are clear about their role, programme quality.

  • Programme planning should be collaborative. Engage all stakeholders P.9 using, if appropriate, creative ways e.g. by inviting community representatives to planning meetings or using Drama T.6 and Role-Play T.41 to enable stakeholders to see different perspectives. 

  • Programme plans should adapt and change their designs and strategies in response to feedback, Monitoring M.2 and a changing situation. Develop learning and adaptation processes (M.6 to M.8) and identify revision milestones.

  • Consider the longer-term impacts of planning decisions and promote sustainability and future resilience in affected populations.


Guidance and examples on the Logical Framework Approach (T.25)

Jensen, G. (2010): The Logical Framework Approach. How to Guide, Bond

Short film on humanitarian longframes

Save the Children (2018): Humanitarian Logframes

Problem tree analysis process

TolaData (2019): Step 1: Identifying the Focal Issue with ‘Problem Tree Analysis’ Technique

Guidance and examples of stakeholder analysis

SSWM (undated): Stakeholder Identification

WYG International (2009): Summary Stakeholder Analysis. Water Supply and Sanitation Services ADB TA 7240-UZB

GWC (2009): Training for Hygiene Promoters and HP Coordinators. Part 3 of 3. Stakeholder Analysis

Sphere handbook with minimum standards and indicators that support planning

Sphere Association (2018): The Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response 4th Edition

Programme design process for a handwashing programme

Global Handwashing Partnership (undated): The Handwashing Handbook