According to the 2021 humanitarian need overview, more than 1.6 million Palestinians have limited access to WASH services in the West Bank and Gaza. Therefore, these people are experiencing daily suffering to satisfy their basic WASH needs, including access to water, sanitation, solid waste and flood mitigation measures. This WASH vulnerability is a direct result of several factors, including but not limited to: the longstanding Israeli occupation and restrictions in the West Bank and Gaza, the hard socioeconomic conditions, besides the limited financial and technical capacities of the Palestinian local authorities.
Therefore, WASH Cluster partners, in coordination with the relative local authorities, have developed the WASH humanitarian response plan based on five main components:
- Access to water
- Access to sanitation and hygiene
- Access to WASH services in institutions
- Floods mitigation and prevention
- Solid waste management
Under these components, WASH Cluster partners have defined 30 different WASH interventions that respond to the targeted groups' WASH vulnerabilities. These interventions vary based on the type and severity of the targeted WASH vulnerability, targeted groups and geographical location. Therefore, each type of intervention required further technical analysis and design to ensure maximum efficiency and appropriateness of the delivered assistance. The WASH Cluster-State of Palestine has more than 53 partners, including NGOs, UN agencies, international organizations and local authorities. These actors are planning, designing and implementing their WASH interventions across the West Bank and Gaza and applying technical specifications they have developed during their years of experience and coordination with local authorities. The increasing number of active Cluster members and the number of WASH interventions are imposing several challenges WASH Cluster team and partners are experiencing, such as:
- The differences in the quality of the WASH products provided by WASH Cluster partners.
- Technical specifications are not matching the relevant national and international standards.
- Some cluster partners are facing difficulties in finding the relevant updated technical specifications.
- Activities unit cost varies between partners due to the variety in the technical specifications.
- Some cluster partners are facing difficulties in identifying the relevant technical references or stakeholders of their WASH interventions.
- Some cluster partners cannot define the intervention sub-actions and the required documentation and administrative procedures to be followed during the implementation.
Therefore, in cooperation with the cluster partners, the WASH Cluster has established the WASH Cluster technical taskforce to ensure the maximum technical harmonization of WASH interventions among WASH Cluster partners. This task force included ten local and international NGOs with long intensive technical experiences in designing and implementing WASH activities. Thus, the WASH Cluster team coordinated with the task force members to defined description, micro process, technical specifications and drawings for each WASH intervention included in the WASH humantranian response plan. And collected all partners' inputs in a WASH technical manual to be used as a technical reference for all WASH Cluster partners during the planning, design and implementation of their WASH interventions.