Logo Triangle génération humanitaire



ALGERIA (Sahrawi refugees)

Purchase and distribution of hygiene kits for Saharawi
women in the refugee camps of Aoussert
(Awserd), Smara, El Aioun (Laayoune), Dakhla


Education and protection

Education and protection





FROM 09/2007 TO 09/2008




Owing to the extremely harsh living conditions of Saharawi refugees, hygiene in the camps has been identified as a priority. 

Between 2000 and 2002, funded by ECHO, a consortium of NGOs* purchased and distributed hygiene kits for the Saharawi community.

In 2004, the Association of Algerian Women for Development (AFAD) implemented a hygiene kits packaging workshop. This initiative developed into a project covering purchase and packaging of kits for women. The kit contained a packet of 10 sanitary towels for menstruation and one bar of soap. The project ended on May 20 2005.

When the NGO Consortium and the AFAD distributions almost totally ceased, the community was noticeably affected; the products -representing a non-negligible expense- had to be purchased by the refugees themselves. 

Unable to pay for the supplementary purchase of sanitary pads (and other personal hygiene items), a considerable number of women reverted to former customs such as using pieces of cloth that were washed after utilisation.

According to health experts, such practises led to major health repercussions such as the emergence of infectious diseases and the rise of genital and dermatological diseases among women refugees. 

Between November 2005 and July 2006, thanks to funding from ECHO, Triangle ran two distributions of 33,000 kits. Each kit included

2 packets of 10 sanitary pads, 2 soaps (300 g item) and 1 bottle of shampoo (250 ml).

Between September 2006 and September 2007, again thanks to ECHO's support, Triangle distributed 38,000 kits five times and conducted a KAP survey (Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices).

The results and recommendations of this survey show that a third hygiene kits distribution programme is required. 

Extracts from the recommendations about distributing kits :
"There is a need to increase the contents and adapt it to family requirements. The soap, sized to suit a single person's personal hygiene, serves the entire family for multiple purposes. For the same reasons, a one-person bottle of shampoo is sometimes consumed within two days. Women frequently resort to applying several sanitary towels at the same time to guarantee absorbance or using towels as panty liners".

This new programme is the outcome of Triangle's two distribution programmes and the results and recommendations of the KAP survey (conducted between January and March 2007). Regular consultations took place throughout the assessments, particularly with the community, the representatives of Saharawi women and the authorities.

Aiming to provide an appropriate response to the survey's findings, Triangle has decided to renew the distribution programme using the same products but increasing the quantities as follows

The number of distributions remains unchanged in comparison to the previous programmes: 5 distributions (one every two months). Triangle has also renewed distribution of toiletry kits for 1,393 disabled people.

* In the 90s, Oxfam-Solidarité instigated the creation of a Consortium of European NGOs providing aid to Saharawi refugees.