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Research Methodology Note: WASH Infrastructure Coding BGD1903 Bangladesh - 28/08/2019, V3

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General Objective

To strengthen strategic planning, programmatic decision-making, and operational monitoring for key WASH infrastructure in Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar through tagging with unique identifier codes.

2. Rationale

2.1. Rationale

Since August 2017, an estimated 700,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District from Myanmar. The early stage of the crisis was characterized by a significant daily influx of refugee populations within rapidly expanding new camps and spontaneous settlements across Ukhia and Teknaf Upazilas (sub-districts). Meanwhile, humanitarian actors were quickly upscaling their life-saving interventions, to provide basic services to Rohingya populations through in-kind distributions and by building emergency infrastructure – much of it poor quality and temporary in nature.

Throughout 2018-19, WASH Sector partners have worked to replace poor quality infrastructure by establishing standards and coordination systems to support more effective operations and maintenance. One major barrier to monitoring and maintaining infrastructure has been the absence of a unique identifier coding system. With an estimated 86,000 WASH facilities managed by over 50 implementing partners, monitoring and maintenance of infrastructure for strategic and operational purposes has proved very challenging. As the humanitarian response has shifted from an emergency to a protracted crisis, infrastructure monitoring data - including REACH’s infrastructure monitoring censuses in 2017-18 – has not been effectively converted into actionable responses, and was rather used for strategic than operational purposes. Multiple datasets often contradicting each other has further hampered strategic and operational planning.

In the second year of the response, with fewer WASH facilities being built and decommissioned than in the first year – meaning facility censuses vary to a lesser extent - an opportunity is presented to build a unique identifier (UUID) database containing information about all WASH facilities, to assist in implementing better strategic and operational planning and monitoring on an ongoing basis. Between April and August 2019, REACH will apply unique identifiers to all tubewells, latrines, bathing facilities and fecal sludge treatment plants (FSTPs) within the ISCG-registered camps, with unique information (type, location, and specifications) for each facility stored in a database. The database along with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) guiding processes for updating and using the database will form the basis of the WASH infrastructure coding system that will be maintained by the WASH Sector.