• 2021: Greece, Lesvos

    Mavrovouni: Temporary WASH Activities with Community Volunteers

Τhis engagement of the community in the maintenance and improvement of the camp, instills a sense of ownership and respect for the site amongst the community in general.

March 2021 was a crucial month for Watershed, as we undertook a lot of brand-new activities as part of a handover with the German Red Cross (GRC), due to them concluding their emergency mission on Lesvos.

The GRC was present in Mavrovouni RIC since it opened in the aftermath of the Moria RIC fire. With a specific focus on WASH, we worked very closely with them for six months; the planned duration of their mission. As they departed, we came to the agreement that we would take over running the facility management teams (hot water bucket shower areas and hand washing stations), the facility maintenance and water monitoring. Each of the four activities has a team of volunteers (varying in size from 4 to 100!) who are residents of the camp.

The shower facility management team is the largest team, consisting of volunteers and supervisors. They are in charge of staffing the hot water bucket shower areas, also including the “Protection and Gender Inclusion” (PGI) shower block. They collect a little data on who is using the showers, which enables us to get a better understanding of the situation, as well as providing some hygiene items. The hand washing facility management team is a small team who are responsible for refilling the hand washing stations twice daily and reporting any problems.

The facility maintenance sub team is a tight-knit group of volunteers who carry out regular maintenance tasks on the hand washing station and shower areas, as well as generally supporting the Watershed construction team. Finally, the water monitoring team was first established because the GRC financed trucking the water into the camp, however we adopted their water monitoring team, in order to collect the data which can support the contract owning organization as well as the contractors. The team measures the quantity of fresh water and grey water (so the contractor can be alerted when refilling or emptying is required), temperature (of hot water tanks), chlorination level, pH and turbidity of cold water to ensure it’s safe.

We feel very grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the community volunteer sub teams whilst retaining our focus and mission concerning WASH. We believe that this way of working demonstrates a holistic and sustainable method of ensuring that WASH areas are looked after, ensuring each user a dignified experience.


Greece: Mavrovouni RIC, Lesvos


March 2021 – December 2021


Population of Mavrovouni RIC

Volunteer pool (maximum) 120


GRC, Caritas Austria

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