WASH COVID-19 Response Plan:
Since March 2020, the humanitarian actors in Palestine considered the COVID-19 outbreak in their programs. Many national and international agencies have developed their programming and emergency response modalities to be able to respond against this outbreak. On the 20th of March 2020, the humanitarian coordinator launched the 90 days inter-agency COVID-19 response plan, and different cluster partners from local NGOs, International NGOs and UN agencies contributed to the development of this response plan. Recently, and due to the changing situations regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, the inter-agency response plan has been revised, and 24 WASH cluster partners have contributed to this revision and proposed the following priorities:
➢ Support public facilities (healthcare facilities, and quarantine centers mainly) by ensuring availability and proper access to WASH services, IPC supplies, cleaning materials and waste management.
➢ Support vulnerable families and communities by providing hygiene items, carrying out communication awareness campaigns and promoting adequate personal hygiene and cleaning practices at the household level.
➢ Support WASH service providers, municipalities, and local councils to maintain their services through the provision of critical O&M fittings, cleaning materials and equipment.
WASH partners have proposed specific types of interventions summarized as following:
➢ Develop and disseminate information, education, and communication materials on COVID-19.
➢ Provision of hygiene, sanitizing and environmental cleaning materials and tools on different household, community, and institutional levels.
➢ Provision of water for households, health care facilities and quarantine centers.
➢ The installation and rehabilitation of simple WASH facilities at household, health care facilities and quarantine centers.
➢ Support health care facilities, quarantine centers and communities for waste management.
➢ Supporting PWA and the most vulnerable WASH service providers in ensuring adequate WASH services during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Such activities are supposed to be implemented in a limited duration (90 days, starts from March 2020), what needs high level of coordination, collaboration and integration from all cluster partners. Therefore, in coordination with Palestinian Water Authority, the WASH cluster decided to establish the WASH Emergency task force. This task force is composed from active WASH cluster organizations’ members, who have been selected based on detailed criteria like partner experience, partners’ technical capacities, and partners' ability to allocate the required time to perform the task force duties.
The task force members shared the responsibility of developing technical standards, implementation methodology, stakeholder analysis and technical support reference for the WASH COVID-19 response plan activities. Therefore, each partner was responsible about one of the response plan component, and collected all the related data that will facilitate and guide the WASH partners in developing, design and implementing their COVID-19 response activities.
The main objective of the WASH COVID-19 response guidance is to enhance coordination and integration amongst WASH actors during the implementation of the WASH cluster COVID-19 response plan, and to harmonize partners intervention through developing common standards, and a way of working, to ensure that all the activities being implemented under the WASH COVID-19 Response Plan will achieve high level of efficacy, and effectiveness toward its target groups.
To develop a useful and efficient guidance to facilitate WASH COVID-19 Response Plan interventions, the task force members developed a comprehensive methodology that considers the following:
Therefore, the task force agreed about the following steps to develop the intervention guidance:
➢ Identify the main component for guidance, and it has been agreed that members present their plans regarding a) the technical standards, b) implementation methodologies, c) Stakeholder mapping, and d) the technical support each member can deliver to other WASH cluster partners.
➢ Collecting, analyzing and summarizing the data reflecting the partners’ experiences, good practices, implementation mechanisms and coordination efforts, during the implementation of the WASH COVID-19 response activities.
➢ Develop separate guidance for each component that includes all the main standards and tools, and WASH cluster revised guidance notes and ensure its alignment with the Response Plan, global COVID-19 guidance and context application.
➢ The WASH cluster team compiled all the members' outputs and developed the guidance document, which has been reviewed and adjusted by the task force members.