• 2021-2022: Greece, Lesvos

    Mavrovouni: Transition to Permanent WASH Facilities

We wanted to bring Watershed’s work quality and ethic to facility cleaning and maintenance in this camp.

Since opening, one of the most pressing needs in Mavrovouni RIC was to upgrade from temporary toilet and shower solutions to those with a sustainable water supply and sewage network, and dignified access to permanent facilities. From September 2021 onwards, we assisted with the smooth transition to the toilet and shower containers.

To coincide with the opening of the WASH containers, we developed a MEAL (monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning) system to communicate tasks to the relevant teams. The premise being that; volunteers managing the permanent WASH facilities, cleaning staff (ultimately, any user) can raise cleaning or maintenance issues by scanning a QR code, unique to each container, and filling out a short form available in the widely spoken languages of the camp.

However, the scheduled opening of the permanent toilet and shower containers was due before the official contracted cleaners started their agreement with the Greek authorities. In order to bridge the interim period and ensure the condition and cleanliness of the facilities did not deteriorate from their opening, we prepared to project manage a cleaning contract during the meantime. We wanted to bring Watershed’s work quality and ethic to facility cleaning in this camp, so, with the experience of two local project leaders and a team of 26 cleaners onsite on a daily basis (contracted to a Greek company- with a quota for hiring staff with settled refugee status) we provided in depth training and ensured the provision of sufficient PPE, chemicals and equipment. We were proud to see a sense of camaraderie and accountability developing between the teams, despite the temporary nature of the project.

As the WASH containers opened to the general population, we expanded our community-based facility maintenance team to reflect the additional demand. The recruitment drive led to a more balanced team in terms of representation, as we now have two all-women maintenance sub-teams, fully trained and ready to respond to issues in the female only WASH areas, while the entire maintenance team addresses the routine maintenance issues raised via our MEAL system and any other ad-hoc issues they encounter on their rounds.

This collaborative effort to make the transition from temporary solutions to decent, containerised WASH facilities – with running water and flushing toilets – has made a real difference to the daily lives of the residents of Mavrovouni RIC and we are proud to see dignified bathrooms available for use.


Greece: Mavrovouni Reception and Identification Centre (RIC), Lesvos


September 2021 – February 2022


The population of Mavrovouni RIC




Introduction of digital monitoring system

Facility maintenance and cleaning

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