THIS REPORT EXPLORES THE PROBLEM OF SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL IN TWO HUMANITARIAN CONTEXTS TO IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES FOR INNOVATION USING A NEW METHODOLOGY.
Our 2021 WASH Gaps in Humanitarian Response: 2021 Update — Elrha reveals the most pressing WASH challenges facing crisis-affected communities around the world. This gap analysis draws on the most comprehensive global WASH data collection of its kind. Over 1,700 crisis-affected people shared their views and experiences with nearly 700 WASH practitioners across the country. This process identified over 6,000 gaps in the humanitarian WASH response. Further analysis identified the top four gaps most mentioned by respondents: need for water supply, need for sanitation access and coverage, poor hygiene practices and knowledge, and improper solid waste disposal.
The objective of the Opportunities for Innovation in Solid Waste Disposal in Humanitarian Settings report is to explore how innovation can help address the challenge of inappropriate solid waste disposal. Recognizing this as a significant gap, the research team developed a 6-step methodology to explore the issues to identify opportunities for innovation. Access to a healthy and sustainable environment has been recognized as a universal right. And yet, neglect and failures in solid waste management (SWM) are common and repeated; therefore, it is necessary to seek solutions through innovation.
The research team explored the issue of improper solid waste disposal in two settings: Rwamwanja refugee camp, Uganda, and Doolow IDP camp, Somalia. The report describes the problems, causes and impacts of poor solid waste disposal in these contexts and five opportunities for innovation that could help improve the situation. For each of these five general opportunities, more specific examples of how innovators or funders of innovation could take advantage of the opportunity are provided:
- Building a zero waste vision for humanitarian contexts
- Safe and accessible disposal sites
- Sustainable collaboration models for humanitarian agencies and local authorities
- Supporting potential entrepreneurs to turn waste into a resource
- Identify and reduce high-impact waste resources
“Access to a healthy and sustainable environment has been recognized as a universal right. And yet, neglect and failures in solid waste management are common and repeated, hence the need to seek solutions through innovation .”
In creating this report, specific problems in solid waste disposal and management were identified that the highlighted innovation opportunities could solve. This work can be leveraged in several ways:
- The methodology developed to identify innovation opportunities could be implemented in other WASH contexts, gaps and challenges
- The issues explored could contribute to broader sectoral efforts to map issues in the SWM gap
- Innovation funders could open up identified opportunities to further support innovation in the SWM space by launching funding calls that ask innovators to respond to identified challenges
- Innovators in humanitarian contexts with similar problem models to the two contexts explored in this report could use this information to identify potential targets for innovation in their contexts who would benefit from their time, attention, skills and resources. resources.
This report on innovation opportunities and methodology was prepared for Elrha by UrbanEmerge, FLUSH and Science Practice.