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Ensuring essential supplies during crises: UNICEF's WASH and Dignity Kit

Jul 04, 2023

The WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and Dignity Kit is a vital part of UNICEF’s work during crisis to meet the basic needs of children and their families, ensuring clean water, accessible sanitation facilities, and good hygiene practices in schools, health centers and urban settings.

The kit is often delivered during the first phase of an emergency response from UNICEF's global supply hubs. In places where frequent and recurring crises occur, local procurement options are encouraged as part of the preparation for future emergencies.

UNICEF's WASH and Dignity Kit contains 11 items and is accompanied by a leaflet with user instructions. It is designed for a family of five (two adults and three children or adolescents) to address their basic water and sanitation needs for one month and is distributed in two options:

The kit includes a bucket with lid to store clean water and a jerrycan. It also comes with soap and laundry detergent to help families maintain good hygiene practices during an emergency, when basic sanitation is challenging and children are exposed to life-threatening diseases, like cholera and diarrhoea.

The kit includes different menstrual hygiene products such as reusable pads, disposable pads and multipurpose cloth, which vary depending on the local and cultural context and distribution requirements.

Some items last for several years, while others cover a period of one month. Users are often asked to give their feedback about the kits, which are frequently reviewed to make sure they meet communities’ needs.

The kit also includes two important tools for personal safety, whistles and torches. The whistle is a vital device for women and children when using toilets or latrines, often communal and distant from the households. It draws attention and alerts others nearby in case of danger. The whistle is frequently used in combination with the torch when walking through dark or unfamiliar environments.

UNICEF has been procuring different types of WASH kits since the late 1990s. The current WASH and Dignity Kit was created in 2018 when several menstrual hygiene products were added to fulfill UNICEF’s commitment to provide gender-specific items to women and adolescent girls, respecting their rights to health, safety and protection.

The kits are available for procurement in the UNICEF Supply Catalogue.