Clean water pouring out of a bucket
Clean water pouring out of a bucket

Clean Water

Nearly 1,000 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene. But we believe the global water and sanitation crisis can be solved within our lifetimes. That’s why we’re focused on providing clean water and sanitation to every man, woman, and child in every community we work in, including the most vulnerable populations in the hardest-to-reach places.

Our favorite clean water videos

2.3 million
people reached with improved water access.

Funded by World Vision donors from around the world in 2015.

4 new schools
reached EVERY DAY, on average, with clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Funded by World Vision donors from around the world in 2015.

1,496
communities certified as open defecation free by local governments.

Funded by World Vision donors from around the world in 2015.

Our Clean Water Approach

Can you give me an overview of your water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) work?

For over 30 years, World Vision has been working in impoverished areas to provide safe water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education so that illnesses decrease, health improves, and the burden on women and children is lessened. World Vision’s programs include the voices of the poorest members of the community and collaborate with community leaders to solicit the participation of men and women, people of varying ages (from children through the elderly), as well as those with disabilities and illnesses. With our team of 500 WASH experts working with these communities worldwide, we reach one new person with safe water every 30 seconds.

Why does World Vision combine safe water with sanitation and hygiene?

Safe drinking water, improved sanitation, good hygiene, and good water resource management can lead to a reduction in child mortality, cut transmission of malaria, improve public health, and reduce extreme poverty. Providing hygiene education and sanitation facilities, like latrines and hand washing stations, dramatically multiplies the health benefits of safe water by helping to reduce disease transmission through fecal contamination and unwashed hands. Combining water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions can cut preventable child deaths by up to 57 percent, reduce chronic malnutrition by 40 percent, reduce school absenteeism among girls by 50 percent, and obtain an 8:1 economic return in target communities. 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 safe water, and how does World Vision ensure water service developed from its programming is sustainable and effective?

World Vision develops the most appropriate safe water source for each community we work in. Some of the technologies we use include drilling deep wells to reach aquifers far below ground and hand-drilling wells when the water table is closer to the surface.

In larger communities, wells with a high water yield can be mechanized with solar pumps to reach more people. When fresh spring water is available, World Vision can protect and cap the spring to provide water to nearby communities. World Vision often uses rainwater-harvesting systems to provide clean water at schools.

World Vision’s model contributes to community ownership and training in maintenance of water points so that water continues to flow long after our work concludes. Because we invest an average of 15 years in a community, local people take ownership of the water points and learn how to repair them when they break down.

We establish water management committees to maintain and operate water points. These committees collect small fees to pay for repairs as needed — an approach that helps ensure communities have the knowledge and financial resources to keep their water points working smoothly.

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 and storage.

What are you doing to make your water, sanitation, and hygiene programs more efficient and effective?

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

  • Partnerships: We’ve developed a wide range of partnerships including with some of the best academic institutions, corporations, and foundations. Visit our partnership page to learn more.
  • Learning centers: Three regional learning centers in Africa focus on providing specialized technical support.
  • Low-cost water supply: We are scaling up an alternative market-based approach to water supply through local entrepreneurs who manually dig wells using augers, which can cut costs by a factor of 10. World Vision is also investing in smaller, trailer-mounted drill rigs that cost half the price and require half the crew of larger, traditional drill rigs.
  • Information tracking: Geographic Information System that tracks information across WASH programs in 10 countries in Africa.

Clean Water Resources

UNC and World Vision collaboration (PDF)

The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina and World Vision are partnering to improve WASH in low- and middle-income countries to help solve the water and sanitation crisis by 2030.

Impact Study Summary of Findings (PDF)

The UNC Water Institute conducted an independent study of water sources in Ghana and found nearly 80 percent of World Vision wells continue to function at a high level after 20 years, thanks largely to emphasis on community engagement.

Ways to Give to Clean Water

Donate to the Clean Water Fund

Giving to the Clean Water Fund will help bring clean water, sanitation, and hygiene to communities — helping cut child deaths by more than half! Learn more >

Give a Share of a Deep Well – $100

Clean water lies hundreds of feet below layers of hard rock in many communities. A deep well can provide up to 2,800 gallons of clean water a day to benefit as many as 300 people. In addition, a deep well can cut a community’s child death rate by as much as half!

Together, we work to help communities develop the perfect recipe for sustainable success.

Choose one and see how our work gets done.

Health

U.S. Work

Economic Development

Clean Water

Education

Our Faith

Health

U.S. Work

Economic Development

Clean Water

Education

Our Faith

Disaster Response

Child Protection

Gender Equality

Disaster Response

Child Protection

Gender Equality