PQMD Receives Innovation Grant to Support Best Practices for Hygiene Kit Distribution Programs

PQMD is pleased to announce the receipt of an innovation grant to support best practices for hygiene kit distribution programs. PQMD will lead a collective impact coalition to design an evaluation anchored in a shared framework and practical tools to measure the effectiveness of hygiene kits.

In this file photo, PQMD member representatives and guests participate in a hygiene kitting activity during PQMD’s Annual Meeting. 

The importance of access to personal hygiene items during an emergency such as a flood, earthquake or hurricane is well understood for safeguarding hygiene, health, dignity and well-being. And hygiene kit distribution is a legacy strategy widely employed by nonprofit organizations and companies alike in disaster response efforts. While personal hygiene kits are intended to help people with basic needs, it is unknown from (publicly available sources) if the content and timing of the kits are ideal for end-users and kit distributors. A recent review article highlighted this lack of available evidence and identified hygiene kits as one of eight priority program areas in emergency response that are “highly implemented, yet severely under-evaluated”.

This initiative is being funded through a special line of grants reserved to support innovations. PQMD is uniquely placed to leverage collective experience and new inquiry in kitting practices.  A recent PQMD survey of its membership found that 82% of respondents engage in kitting activities and together distribute over 700,000 hygiene kits, confirming deep expertise in this area.

“While PQMD members contribute broadly to disasters and humanitarian crises, hygiene kits not only provide urgent and much needed products for recipients but have also proven to be an opportunity to involve both corporate and NGO employees in the effort resulting in a true community to community undertaking,” said Elizabeth Ashbourne, Executive Director of PQMD.

This project builds on what is currently available to guide disaster response work:  FEMA and the CDC encourage all households to create and keep updated an accessible emergency kit, inclusive of basic hygiene items. Sphere Project has developed a set of universal and widely recognized minimum standards in hygiene promotion.

Julie Vander Burg, PQMD’s Senior Director of Programs, highlighted the organization’s commitment to collective learning. “This undertaking shows that PQMD members see enormous value in standardized inquiry focused on both end-user feedback and multiple perspectives of kit significance to grow better programs,” she said. ”PQMD is grateful for the opportunity to coordinate leadership and learning in this area.”

If you or your organization are interested in learning more or participating, please contact Juliemarie Vander Burg, Senior Director of Programs at PQMD: jvanderburg@pqmd.org

Additional details about the program and grant will be shared in a future edition of the PQMD Newsletter.