Hygiene Kits

Oxfam distributes non-food items in the form of ‘hygiene kits’ to support WASH activities, for example to enable safe use of water and effective handwashing. The provision of culturally appropriate material for women to use for menstrual protection is an important consideration. Other items may also be included in accordance with available resources and community priorities.


Oxfam Briefing Paper: Hygiene Kits

Oxfam Briefing Paper: Menstrual protection

Oxfam How-to Guide: NFI Distribution

Oxfam PHP Best Practice for Emergencies and Post Emergencies

Oxfam: Water Trucking Market System in Harshin, Ethiopia - EMMA

Oxfam, CaLP: Shop Vouchers for Hygiene Kits in Haiti

Minimum Requirements

A hygiene kit should enable:

  • Storage of safe drinking water at household level;
  • Good practice around drinking water use;
  • All family members able to practice handwashing at key times;
  • The washing of bodies and clothing;
  • Management of babies and young children’s faeces;
  • Anal cleansing with dedicated water containers (if used);
  • Management of menstruation;
  • Practice of good food hygiene.

When implementing a distribution of hygiene kits:

  • Ensure the provision of basic hygiene items according to Sphere
  • Consult with the affected community, in particular women, on the contents of the hygiene kit and the targeting criteria. (The items that are selected will depend on what is already available at the household level, the expected length of displacement, local income opportunities, and local expressed needs).
  • Co-ordinate with the WASH Cluster to lobby for consistency in hygiene kit contents, to avoid duplication, and to identify opportunities for large-scale procurement and gaps in provision of NFIs.
  • Investigate options for sourcing hygiene items through local markets with the support of logistics colleagues.
  • Investigate options for distribution of vouchers or cash with EFSVL colleagues.
  • Ensure that all groups within affected communities understand and agree with the targeting criteria and that information sharing and feedback mechanisms are in place.
  • Ensure that affected communities understand the purpose and how to use each NFI, through demonstrations etc.
  • Consider issues of protection, gender and HIV & AIDS when designing distribution systems.
  • Conduct post-distribution monitoring after distribution and record lessons learned within 3 weeks of distribution.

Use of Vouchers and Cash

  • Vouchers or cash can be used instead of NFI distributions where markets are working , enhancing dignity and choice for affected communities. Setting up accountable voucher or cash distribution mechanisms may take longer than in-kind distributions in first phase emergencies but should be considered as soon as the context allows.