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UNICEF Innovation

Accessible Latrine Slab for Emergencies

Procurement of latrine slabs accessibility components can enable partners on the ground to provide appropriate facilities for displaced persons (including children) living in camps or settlements, ultimately improving safety and dignity for users

© UNICEF/UNI5674/Holt

In February 2017 UNICEF published a revised Target Product Profile (TPP) to specify Accessible Latrine Slab for Emergencies needs and requirements.

A request for proposals for Accessible Latrine Slab for Emergencies was released in April 2017 and is available here.






Current sanitation products (such as latrine slabs and super-structures) used in emergencies do not include components for enabling access by elderly or persons living with disabilities (including children). In the field, a small stool is sometimes made and positioned over the slab hole providing access to disabled individuals. However, these short-term solutions can pose health and safety issues to users since they are not standard products which can be safely secured to the plastic plate. They can also be unsteady when used, and difficult to clean, collecting dirt and bacteria.

The project



One of the critical public health responses in crisis situations that include population displacements is to ensure that faecal matter is isolated to prevent diarrheal disease outbreaks. Traditionally, UNICEF accomplishes this through the construction of temporary latrines consisting of a plastic sheeting superstructure and a plastic latrine slab. The latrine slab is normally self-supporting and rests over a latrine hole of varying depths.
Based on field experiences, there are four limitations to the traditional UNICEF latrine:

1. Odour control: Because typical latrines do not have a water seal (with some exceptions, notably in East Asia), smells emanate from the pit through the slab hole. This is not inherently a public health issue, but if bad enough, people can refuse to use them. This will then result in open defecation which can be a major vector for diarrheal disease transmission.
2. Vector control: Though latrines do isolate faecal matter, the traditional latrine slab does not fully seal off the pit as the slab hole permits flies to access the pit contents. Flies are a key vector for disease transmission, flying into and out of the latrine and then landing on hands, food, or other objects, spreading contamination.
3. Child friendliness: From field experiences, it has been noted that the latrine can be intimidating to a child. Even to the point that they will not use it, rather waiting until night and defecating in the open, causing a potential health risk.
4. Handicap access: The typical latrine slab is not handicap accessible; it is just a flat smooth surface. In the field, a small stool is sometimes made and positioned over the slab hole to allow for handicap access. This can work but it is not easily cleaned nor easily aligned over the slab hole.

The goal of this project it to identify solutions to improve access to latrines in emergency contexts such as refugee camps or settlements. The solution must be able to be easily integrated with the existing self-supporting latrine slab procured by UNICEF in emergencies. 

In 2016 UNICEF published a Target Product Profile (TPP) to guide product developers on design and performance requirements for new solutions.

In April 2017, UNICEF issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for prototypes of innovative designs that meet the requirements outlined in the TPP that will be field trialled in the UNICEF context. The purpose of this approach is to:

- Encourage suppliers to consider universal designs to accommodate more users.
- Emphasize the importance of designing with the users, and gathering feedback from the field.
- Allowing more innovation through supplier proposals rather than issuing specifications through an Invitation to Bid.

Related information



Overview: Assistive Products for Children with Disabilities, March 2018

Dignity and independence for people with disabilities in emergencies, April 2017

UNICEF Target Product Profiles webpage





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