Since 2011, a total of 656,170 Syrians have registered as refugees in Jordan; 79,937 of whom are currently registered in Zaatari camp, in Mafraq governorate.1 UNICEF is the lead agency for the WASH sector in Jordan, coordinating all related activities within the camp since it opened in 2012. ACTED, JEN and Oxfam have operated as key partners in the implementation of WASH activities in the camp, including delivery of treated water through a free water trucking service, the collection of waste water and solid waste, building and repair and maintenance of private WASH facilities, and hygiene promotion activities. Six years after the onset of the Syrian crisis, UNICEF, in coordination with these humanitarian organisations, has been shifting towards greater sustainability of programming. This is seen most evidently in the construction of the Zaatari Wastewater Network (WWN), which has connected every household in the camp to a common wastewater disposal system, and the simultaneous construction of private toilet facilities in each household, as a more cost-efficient and sustainable solution to WASH needs than communal facilities.
This research sought to evaluate the impact of the wastewater management project conducted by UNICEF and its implementing partners on sanitation and hygiene practices in Zaatari camp, and camp residents’ perception of the adequacy of this, so as to inform future programming. This survey was divided into two phases, the first of which aimed to a) identify primary household sources of drinking water; b) assess the prevalence and suitability of private WASH infrastructure across all households; 2 c) record primary wastewater and solid waste disposal practices across all households in the camp; and d) gauge perceptions of adequacy of WASH repair and maintenance (R&M) services amongst the refugee community. To supplement the assessment of private WASH infrastructure, phase two monitored structural damage to communal sewage interceptor tanks in the camp and explored reasons for damage and community awareness of potential related hygiene risks.
From 12 February to 5 March 2017, a team of two REACH Project Officers and 37 Syrian cash for workers (CfW)3 assessed 12,410 households, consisting of 15,165 cases, and a total of 68,221 individuals that were present in the camp at the time of data collection. As a first step, the state of communal sewage interceptor tanks was evaluated. Based on these results, key Informant (KI) interviews were conducted in each of the twelve districts of the camp on the 19th and 20th of March 2017. They targeted particularly the blocks where Phase 1 concrete tanks have been the most damaged so as to understand the underlying reasons for these damages.
This assessment showed that the WASH programming of UNICEF and partners in Zaatari has increased the number of households with private WASH infrastructure. This implies that the shift towards longer-term, sustainable WASH programming has been successful through the construction of a waste water network and private infrastructure that has covered the camp comprehensively and been positively perceived by beneficiaries. However, there are several key gaps that emerged. In order to achieve a greater impact in terms of sanitary situation in the camp, a greater effort to tackle issues of network blockages or tank overflowing needs to be made. As Key Informants reported that the households residing in their areas were not willing or able to pay for plumber to fix households connections and septic tank issues, another solution has to be found to maintain the WWN in good condition in the long term. Given that almost one quarter of households reported that they did not know the primary WASH actor in their district, expanding outreach and beneficiary communications would ensure greater transparency and facilitate the reporting of WASH related problems towards rectifying these issues.