No Latrine Option

No latrine system – containment at household level

Latrines are the normal sanitation solution in emergencies. It is not always possible to use latrines, however, for a variety of reasons:

  • In the first phase of an emergency response before latrines have been built
  • In urban settings there may be real difficulties in providing any upgraded form of sanitation for some time after an emergency because of overcrowding and lack of space.
  • There may be no access for desludging of latrines
  • The area may be rocky or prone to flooding
  • Elderly or disabled may be unable to use the latrine.

For the sake of dignity, safety and health it is important that a toilet is provided in these situations. Whether this be a bucket, a bag, a box, a combination of these or something completely different it will be small volume and a system or process of emptying and disposing of the excreta will need to be in place.

Design Criteria

Nature of solution A toilet for use when latrines cannot be built, and a system for dealing with the excreta
Smell The system should prevent any smell
Usage The systems needs to be multi-use, whilst also being acceptable to the user with minimum odour. For example, where a large biodegradable bag is part of the solution, this might have to be emptied daily.
Weight On arrival in the country, the solution will need to be man-handleable.
Packaging The solution should pack small for ease of shipping. Ideally, the solution will fit on an EUR-pallet.
Construction method The solution should be quick and easy to use, requiring little or no skill.
Local Materials The solution should be a complete kit, not requiring any materials to be sourced in country.


Test at least 3 existing ‘no latrine’ options in an appropriate emergency situation. These products will be easy to freight, acceptable to users in a variety of contexts, and have established appropriate management structures.

Activities Undertaken

Desk study

A desk study has been completed of the options available, although many would not be suitable for humanitarian use.

Trial in Informal Settlements in Jordan

Peepoo bags, the camping toilet and the ‘bog in a bag’ were all tested in informal refugee settlements in Jordan. Existing pit latrines were of poor quality and the majority of children continued to practice open defecation. Due to the mobility of the Syrian refugees and regulations preventing the infiltration of any grey or blackwater into the ground, portable sanitation options seemed like a good solution.
The trial proved that some models can constitute valuable alternatives for specific target groups facing issues accessing existing sanitation structures. However, accessibility and maintenance can be challenging especially for bag-based models. A more suitable option might be the camping toilet for both elderly and disabled people.
Scoping for a field trials of the MoSan toilet

The Mosan is a urine-diverting in-home toilet. It separates the urine into a container which is relatively easy to dispose of and the faeces into a bucket which, when covered with sawdust or ash, is fairly inoffensive to handle.
Oxfam have trialed the Mosan toilet in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, with partner Sanivation, and feedback from this will help understand issues around its design and implementation.

Jitegemee Phase II Development

The Oxfam Kenya programme has been working on the development of the new Jitegemee – a urine diversion toilet for use in the slum areas of Nairobi, but which could potentially also be useful in emergency contexts. This is in joint collaboration with Sanergy. The following images showcase the concept and model.

Toilet 1

Cranfield University Project: Development of improved bucket toilet

Oxfam sponsored a project at Cranfield University to develop an improved bucket toilet that will allow waste to be safely separated from the user. Six postgraduate students developed the ‘Sit & Pull’ toilet. Using no water it collects faeces in bags and, uniquely, allows for the closing and disposal of the bags simply by pulling a cord on the outside of the toilet. The set up cost for manufacturing the bags is high, therefore we shall not pursue this further given there are other options via Loowatt and Sanergy/Oxfam.

Loowatt Emergency Toilet
Loowatt have developed an innovative toilet which uses a long, biodegradable bag which is fed gradually through the toilet on each ‘flush’. Oxfam have met on several occasions to discuss Loowatt developing a concept for an emergency version of their toilet. The desk top study, and development of prototypes is now funded separately via the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, and the ESP and other sanitation colleagues are part of their consultation process, and discovery of new and/or improved ideas.

Tell us your idea

If you have any products, ideas or would like to become involved in the latrine lining project please get in touch with:

Jenny Lamb, Emergency Sanitation Researcher at Oxfam