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Clean Water | World Vision

Help provide clean water

Our impact on safe drinking water

Every child deserves clean water. However, more than 1,600 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by unsafe water — that’s more than AIDS and malaria combined. Clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education are some of the most effective ways to prevent child disease and death.

World Vision is one of the largest providers of clean water in the developing world, reaching a new person with clean water every 30 seconds. Water continues to flow after we leave because communities have ownership of the water points and can maintain and repair them.

The accomplishments below highlight our impact in 12 countries since 2011:


new or rehabilitated wells and water points

Achievements made possible in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 to-date with the support from World Vision donors all around the world.

2.35 million

people gained access to clean water

Achievements made possible in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 to-date with the support from World Vision donors all around the world.


sanitation facilities built with World Vision guidance

Achievements made possible in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 to-date with the support from World Vision donors all around the world.

Evaluations and Evidence

Evaluation results: World Vision’s unique community involvement model, built over 60 years, helps people adopt positive behaviors that result in sustained water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions. The following evaluation studies highlight our successful track record:

  • A 2003 study in Ghana found a very high rate of functioning wells drilled by World Vision based on community engagement.
  • A 2011 evaluation of World Vision WASH programs in Ghana, Mali, and Niger found increased access to clean water and hygiene facilities, and a decrease in diseases like diarrhea, Guinea worm, and blindness-causing trachoma.
  • A 2012 evaluation of World Vision WASH programs in Ethiopia found significantly increased access to water and sanitation facilities, along with a decrease of time required to fetch water (reduced from four hours in some cases to about 30 minutes).

Read the report (pdf) >

Our Approach

+ Expert Corner: Dr. Greg Allgood

Dr. Greg AllgoodHe’s on a mission for the poor. Dr. Greg Allgood is one of the world’s leading experts on the global clean drinking water crisis.

He joined World Vision in mid-2013 after 27 years at Procter & Gamble, where he created and led a not-for-profit clean drinking water program that provided more than 6 billion liters of clean drinking water in the developing world.

Dr. Allgood travels frequently to the developing world to help World Vision in its work to reach a new person with clean water every 30 seconds. On this page, he’ll share the latest news on our clean drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene efforts. You can also follow Dr. Allgood on Twitter @DrGregAllgood.

+ What do you do with water, sanitation, and hygiene? Can you give me an overview?

As the leading nongovernmental organization providing clean water in the developing world, World Vision invests about $70 million per year in more than 50 countries and reaches a new person with clean water every 30 seconds.

World Vision works in impoverished, mostly rural areas to provide clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education (WASH) so that waterborne illness decreases, health improves, and the burden on women and children is lessened by reducing the distance to water sources. World Vision’s programs include the voices of the poorest members of the community by working with community leaders to solicit the participation of people of both genders, varying ages (from children through the elderly), and those with disabilities and illnesses.

Over the past 27 years, World Vision has provided 12 million people with the many benefits of clean water. We are now dramatically scaling up our WASH programs, and are currently reaching 1 million beneficiaries per year.

+ Why does World Vision combine clean water with sanitation and hygiene?

We support communities as they confront not only their water needs but a variety of challenges including health, education, and jobs to provide a full solution. Hygiene education and support for sanitation facilities, like latrines and handwashing stations, dramatically multiplies the health benefits of clean water by helping to reduce disease transmission through fecal contamination and unwashed hands. In fact, handwashing has been shown to result in children growing taller, stronger, and smarter (A. Bowen, 2012).

So intertwined are the issues of water, sanitation, and hygiene that they have been combined into one sector known in the global aid community as “WASH.”

+ How does World Vision provide clean water, and how does World Vision ensure water service developed from its programming is sustainable and effective?

World Vision drills deep and shallow borehole wells; refurbishes broken water systems; constructs hand-dug wells; and installs other systems, such as rainwater harvesting systems, capped natural spring systems, and mechanized water systems. We are investing $400 million over six years to address the global water crisis and reach 7.5 million people in Africa alone with water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions. Our six-year goal in Africa is to increase clean water access (at least 20 liters per person per day) from 43 percent to 64 percent in target communities by 2016.

World Vision partners with communities for the long-term success and sustainability of wells and water points. In areas where a water system is installed, communities are empowered to form WASH committees and are trained in pump operation and maintenance. They use a fee-collection system that helps pay for repairs when breakdowns occur. Technicians in each community are trained to repair hand pumps, and we help to create a supply chain for repair parts. This community ownership and emphasis on well maintenance and repair has been successful in creating water sources that continue to flow long after we leave.

Our track record is unparalleled: The vast majority of our communities’ wells are still operational after 10 to 15 years.

+ How does World Vision improve sanitation and hygiene? How does this improve child and community health?

Our sanitation and hygiene interventions focus on promoting lasting behavior change. Instead of simply building latrines ourselves, World Vision uses a participatory, community-driven approach that motivates households to build, maintain, and regularly use their own latrines. Hygiene education encourages community members to modify their hygiene habits by washing their hands and dishes with soap (or ash) and practicing safe water handling. Our six-year goal in Africa is to increase access to sanitation facilities from 35 percent to 50 percent and to increase hygiene education from 10 percent to 50 percent in target communities.

World Vision’s WASH programs are playing a vital part in reaching the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals to reduce child mortality. For example, an independent evaluation by Hydroconseil in 2011 from our West Africa WASH programs in Ghana, Mali, and Niger showed significant improvements in access to water and sanitation for families in target communities, as well as a decrease in cases of diarrhea by up to 17 percent (depending on the country) and near-elimination of Guinea worm.

+ What are you doing to make your WASH programs more efficient and effective?

To streamline our work and become more efficient, we’re working on some key innovations that we’re pretty excited about:

  • Geographic Information System (GIS): World Vision uses a GIS to track information across our WASH programs in 12 countries. The system connects WASH interventions to global coordinates and streamlines the collection, analysis, and reporting of WASH-related achievements.
  • Learning centers: We have established three regional learning centers in Africa that focus on providing specialized technical support to ensure quality programming and disseminate best-practice information among stakeholders, including government agencies, universities, and community leaders.
  • Low-cost water supply: World Vision is investing in smaller, trailer-mounted drill rigs that cost half the price and require half the crew of larger, traditional drill rigs. We also are scaling up an alternative, market-based approach to water supply through manual well-drilling using augers, which will cut costs by a factor of 10.

Our Areas of Impact

Our Impact: Clean Water | World Vision

Clean Water

The foundation of life, health, and freedom from poverty

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Our Impact: Child Protection | World Vision

Child Protection

Preventing child trafficking, child labor, exploitation, abuse, and neglect

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Our Impact: Disaster Relief | World Vision

Disaster Relief

Life-saving emergency relief and long-term response

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Our Impact: Economic Development | World Vision

Economic Development

Financial empowerment for communities

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Our Impact: Education | World Vision


Equipping children for a future of opportunity

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Our Impact: Food & Agriculture | World Vision

Food & Agriculture

Building food security; fighting hunger and malnutrition

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Our Impact: Health | World Vision


Promoting well-being for children, families, and communities

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Our Impact: U.S. Work | World Vision

U.S. Work

Assisting and empowering our American neighbors

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Our Impact: Our Faith | World Vision

Our Faith

Following Jesus’ example through our global work

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Our Impact: Gender | World Vision


Promoting gender equality to bring fullness of life for all

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