Clean Water

More than 800 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and unsafe hygiene. But we believe the global water and sanitation crisis can be solved within our lifetimes. That’s why we’re focused on ensuring clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for every person in every community we work in, including the most vulnerable populations in the hardest-to-reach places. This work is more important now than ever, since clean water is essential for handwashing and disinfection to prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19.

What you need to know about the global water crisis in photos and videos

The global water crisis affects millions of people worldwide, with 785 million people lacking access to clean water. Learn more as we break this topic down — in photos and videos.

Bangladesh USAID-funded project
New evaluation finds social accountability led to system strengthening in Bangladesh Social accountability supported system strengthening by providing a platform for citizen-state engagement and “overcoming inertia” on the part of citizens and bureaucrats, an independent evaluation has found.  Improved government accountability and services resulted...
Walking for water determines Ireen’s future in Malawi

How can she reach for the stars when even water is unreachable? In the Great Rift Valley, poverty and lack of clean water create hardships for 8-year-old Ireen, who walks to collect water up to four times a day. World Vision is working alongside communities to bring the reality of clean water and good health to girls like Ireen.

Providing water for gari processing firm in Ghana

Maintaining hygiene against the spread of coronavirus

8.2 million
people supported with hygiene behavior change.

Thanks to the support of World Vision donors around the world in 2020.

2.7 million
households constructed latrines for improved sanitation.

Thanks to the support of World Vision donors around the world in 2020.

3.4 million
people provided with access to clean water.

Thanks to the support of World Vision donors around the world in 2020.

Our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Approach

How does World Vision determine where to implement WASH programs?


World Vision is committed to serving the most vulnerable, especially in countries where extreme poverty and political instability have hampered investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. World Vision implements WASH programs in countries where we operate that identify WASH as a critical need to improve child well-being, and we invest resources where that need overlaps most with fragility. As evidence of this, World Vision’s global WASH business plan directs 89% of funding toward fragile contexts.

However, our call to serve the most vulnerable goes beyond fragile states and includes a deepened focus on the most vulnerable children in every country where we work. These children are those whose quality of life and ability to fulfil their potential are most affected by extreme deprivation and violation of their rights. They often live in traumatic situations with relationships characterized by violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, exclusion, and discrimination. World Vision defines and identifies the most vulnerable according to the challenges and vulnerabilities of their local context, and then designs and implements programs to meaningfully impact their well-being.

Learn more about World Vision’s work in fragile contexts.

How does World Vision measure its WASH program achievements and impact?


To uphold its core value of accountability, World Vision aligns its monitoring approach with guidelines and definitions set forth by the World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, supporting the global effort to track progress toward equitable WASH services. For example, when reporting the number of people reached with clean water, we include only those who walk 30 minutes or less roundtrip to access clean water. World Vision tracks the number of people benefiting from each of the three areas of WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) in communities, schools, and healthcare facilities. Participant numbers for WASH services provided at households and schools are the people who use these services daily. For healthcare facilities, the people reached is the population each facility exists to serve. When reporting aggregate numbers, World Vision seeks to avoid double-counting people served in multiple settings.

Monitoring doesn’t end when a WASH project is complete. We utilize a vast network of government staff, community leaders, engineers, maintenance technicians, and World Vision staff who provide ongoing monitoring. Further, World Vision is committed to increasing our use of advanced technology to build evidence of sustainability. We continue working with leading research institutions to evaluate and measure long-term program impact, including our 14-country World Vision WASH evaluation conducted in 2017 by the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina. Read more about this study here.

How does World Vision’s programming promote healthy WASH behaviors?


World Vision integrates behavior-change programming into its WASH work in communities, schools, and healthcare facilities to alter social perceptions and norms that can transform communities and achieve sustained impact. We also create physical environments with associated operation and maintenance approaches that support and sustain new behaviors. Behavior-change approaches are guided by the local context and focus on adoption of essential WASH behaviors, such as handwashing with soap and running water at critical times; safe construction and proper use of latrines; and safe treatment, handling, and storage of drinking water. One way we deliver behavior-change messages is by engaging and mobilizing community leaders and influencers, including faith leaders, educators, mothers in leadership positions, and community health workers.

Behavior-change programming is especially important during disease outbreaks, such as COVID-19 and Ebola. For example, integrating behavior-change programming with WASH response efforts in schools and healthcare facilities helps ensure disinfection of facilities and promotes sustainable healthy handwashing behaviors. This is essential for containing outbreaks and reducing disease transmission, improving education and healthcare quality, and saving lives. In addition, when people are healthy, they have more time to engage in economic activities, which is important as communities recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about our behavior-change approach here or read about our behavior-change guidance for programs here.

How does World Vision ensure gender equality and social inclusion in its WASH work?


World Vision is committed to gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) in our WASH programming and staffing. Our GESI approach actively strives to examine, question, and change harmful social norms and power imbalances as a means of reaching GESI objectives. These objectives include access to infrastructure and participation in management structures, as well as more transformative elements, including systems change, equal decision-making, and overall improvement in well-being for all people.

For example, World Vision collaborates with Sesame Workshop to provide Girl Talk, a program that educates and models girls’ empowerment and menstrual hygiene management, and addresses myths and misconceptions about puberty. In addition, World Vision’s disability-inclusive WASH programming supports SDG 6.2—adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene that is accessible for all, especially the most vulnerable. People of varying ability levels are included in the planning process for design and location of institutional latrines to ensure they are accessible to all, and community members with physical disabilities are supported with accommodations such as seats to make daily latrine use easier and more dignified. Learn more about World Vision’s GESI work here.

What is World Vision’s approach to WASH in schools and healthcare facilities?


Our WASH in schools programming integrates WASH interventions together with approaches from the education sector to jointly support both SDG 6 (safe water and sanitation for all) and 4 (quality education for all). World Vision strives to meet or exceed criteria for basic WASH coverage in schools, including the presence of improved water that is piped on-site, equitable and accessible sanitation facilities sufficient for the school population, accessible handwashing stations with soap, and facilities to manage menstrual hygiene in privacy and with dignity. World Vision’s WASH in schools work often is delivered through school WASH clubs, as well as the Sesame WASH UP! program. WASH UP! teaches children how to practice and share healthy WASH habits through play by engaging with child-friendly learning materials featuring the Sesame characters Raya and Elmo. We also work with communities and local government to enhance management and financing for school WASH sustainability.

World Vision’s focus on WASH in healthcare facilities helps prevent and control infections and outbreaks, improve healthcare quality, promote healthcare best practices, and save lives. Our work aligns with the universal health coverage targets of SDG 3 (good health and well-being)—particularly the goals of increasing rates of safe childbirth and decreasing neonatal mortality. World Vision’s WASH in healthcare facilities work is often delivered through BabyWASH, an initiative that integrates WASH with maternal, newborn, and child health; nutrition; and early childhood development interventions to achieve greater impact for mothers and children to improve health outcomes and survival in the first 1,000 days of life.

Since most healthcare facilities are part of the government healthcare system, we advocate with local government officials to build the capacity of healthcare providers, monitor services for accountability, plan for catastrophic events, and set aside sufficient budget for long-term sustainability of quality health systems. Read more about World Vison’s WASH in healthcare facilities work here.

Clean Water Resources

Improving WASH programming through evidence-building

In the largest evaluation of water, sanitation, and hygiene programming to date, World Vision and the University of North Carolina Water Institute partnered to assess 36,000 households, 2,532 water points, 2,691 schools, and 2,035 healthcare facilities in 14 countries. Read the results.

Applying continuous quality improvement methods to water service delivery

An evaluation of World Vision’s continuous quality improvement programming in Ghana by the University of North Carolina found that the interventions of safe water storage containers, refresher training for WASH committees, and replacement of missing maintenance tools increased household water conformity to WHO safe drinking water standards from 17% to 40%, which persisted for two years post-implementation.

More than 800 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and unsafe 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 person in every community we work in, including the most vulnerable populations in the hardest-to-reach places. This work is more important now than ever, since clean water is essential for handwashing and disinfection to prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19.

What you need to know about the global water crisis in photos and videos

The global water crisis affects millions of people worldwide, with 785 million people lacking access to clean water. Learn more as we break this topic down — in photos and videos.

Bangladesh USAID-funded project
New evaluation finds social accountability led to system strengthening in Bangladesh Social accountability supported system strengthening by providing a platform for citizen-state engagement and “overcoming inertia” on the part of citizens and bureaucrats, an independent evaluation has found.  Improved government accountability and services resulted...
Walking for water determines Ireen’s future in Malawi

How can she reach for the stars when even water is unreachable? In the Great Rift Valley, poverty and lack of clean water create hardships for 8-year-old Ireen, who walks to collect water up to four times a day. World Vision is working alongside communities to bring the reality of clean water and good health to girls like Ireen.

Providing water for gari processing firm in Ghana

Maintaining hygiene against the spread of coronavirus

8.2 million
people supported with hygiene behavior change.

Thanks to the support of World Vision donors around the world in 2020.

2.7 million
households constructed latrines for improved sanitation.

Thanks to the support of World Vision donors around the world in 2020.

3.4 million
people provided with access to clean water.

Thanks to the support of World Vision donors around the world in 2020.

Our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Approach

How does World Vision determine where to implement WASH programs?


World Vision is committed to serving the most vulnerable, especially in countries where extreme poverty and political instability have hampered investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. World Vision implements WASH programs in countries where we operate that identify WASH as a critical need to improve child well-being, and we invest resources where that need overlaps most with fragility. As evidence of this, World Vision’s global WASH business plan directs 89% of funding toward fragile contexts.

However, our call to serve the most vulnerable goes beyond fragile states and includes a deepened focus on the most vulnerable children in every country where we work. These children are those whose quality of life and ability to fulfil their potential are most affected by extreme deprivation and violation of their rights. They often live in traumatic situations with relationships characterized by violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, exclusion, and discrimination. World Vision defines and identifies the most vulnerable according to the challenges and vulnerabilities of their local context, and then designs and implements programs to meaningfully impact their well-being.

Learn more about World Vision’s work in fragile contexts.

How does World Vision measure its WASH program achievements and impact?


To uphold its core value of accountability, World Vision aligns its monitoring approach with guidelines and definitions set forth by the World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, supporting the global effort to track progress toward equitable WASH services. For example, when reporting the number of people reached with clean water, we include only those who walk 30 minutes or less roundtrip to access clean water. World Vision tracks the number of people benefiting from each of the three areas of WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) in communities, schools, and healthcare facilities. Participant numbers for WASH services provided at households and schools are the people who use these services daily. For healthcare facilities, the people reached is the population each facility exists to serve. When reporting aggregate numbers, World Vision seeks to avoid double-counting people served in multiple settings.

Monitoring doesn’t end when a WASH project is complete. We utilize a vast network of government staff, community leaders, engineers, maintenance technicians, and World Vision staff who provide ongoing monitoring. Further, World Vision is committed to increasing our use of advanced technology to build evidence of sustainability. We continue working with leading research institutions to evaluate and measure long-term program impact, including our 14-country World Vision WASH evaluation conducted in 2017 by the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina. Read more about this study here.

How does World Vision’s programming promote healthy WASH behaviors?


World Vision integrates behavior-change programming into its WASH work in communities, schools, and healthcare facilities to alter social perceptions and norms that can transform communities and achieve sustained impact. We also create physical environments with associated operation and maintenance approaches that support and sustain new behaviors. Behavior-change approaches are guided by the local context and focus on adoption of essential WASH behaviors, such as handwashing with soap and running water at critical times; safe construction and proper use of latrines; and safe treatment, handling, and storage of drinking water. One way we deliver behavior-change messages is by engaging and mobilizing community leaders and influencers, including faith leaders, educators, mothers in leadership positions, and community health workers.

Behavior-change programming is especially important during disease outbreaks, such as COVID-19 and Ebola. For example, integrating behavior-change programming with WASH response efforts in schools and healthcare facilities helps ensure disinfection of facilities and promotes sustainable healthy handwashing behaviors. This is essential for containing outbreaks and reducing disease transmission, improving education and healthcare quality, and saving lives. In addition, when people are healthy, they have more time to engage in economic activities, which is important as communities recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about our behavior-change approach here.

How does World Vision ensure gender equality and social inclusion in its WASH work?


World Vision is committed to gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) in our WASH programming and staffing. Our GESI approach actively strives to examine, question, and change harmful social norms and power imbalances as a means of reaching GESI objectives. These objectives include access to infrastructure and participation in management structures, as well as more transformative elements, including systems change, equal decision-making, and overall improvement in well-being for all people.

For example, World Vision collaborates with Sesame Workshop to provide Girl Talk, a program that educates and models girls’ empowerment and menstrual hygiene management, and addresses myths and misconceptions about puberty. In addition, World Vision’s disability-inclusive WASH programming supports SDG 6.2—adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene that is accessible for all, especially the most vulnerable. People of varying ability levels are included in the planning process for design and location of institutional latrines to ensure they are accessible to all, and community members with physical disabilities are supported with accommodations such as seats to make daily latrine use easier and more dignified. Learn more about World Vision’s GESI work here.

What is World Vision’s approach to WASH in schools and healthcare facilities?


Our WASH in schools programming integrates WASH interventions together with approaches from the education sector to jointly support both SDG 6 (safe water and sanitation for all) and 4 (quality education for all). World Vision strives to meet or exceed criteria for basic WASH coverage in schools, including the presence of improved water that is piped on-site, equitable and accessible sanitation facilities sufficient for the school population, accessible handwashing stations with soap, and facilities to manage menstrual hygiene in privacy and with dignity. World Vision’s WASH in schools work often is delivered through school WASH clubs, as well as the Sesame WASH UP! program. WASH UP! teaches children how to practice and share healthy WASH habits through play by engaging with child-friendly learning materials featuring the Sesame characters Raya and Elmo. We also work with communities and local government to enhance management and financing for school WASH sustainability.

World Vision’s focus on WASH in healthcare facilities helps prevent and control infections and outbreaks, improve healthcare quality, promote healthcare best practices, and save lives. Our work aligns with the universal health coverage targets of SDG 3 (good health and well-being)—particularly the goals of increasing rates of safe childbirth and decreasing neonatal mortality. World Vision’s WASH in healthcare facilities work is often delivered through BabyWASH, an initiative that integrates WASH with maternal, newborn, and child health; nutrition; and early childhood development interventions to achieve greater impact for mothers and children to improve health outcomes and survival in the first 1,000 days of life.

Since most healthcare facilities are part of the government healthcare system, we advocate with local government officials to build the capacity of healthcare providers, monitor services for accountability, plan for catastrophic events, and set aside sufficient budget for long-term sustainability of quality health systems. Read more about World Vison’s WASH in healthcare facilities work here.

Clean Water Resources

Improving WASH programming through evidence-building

In the largest evaluation of water, sanitation, and hygiene programming to date, World Vision and the University of North Carolina Water Institute partnered to assess 36,000 households, 2,532 water points, 2,691 schools, and 2,035 healthcare facilities in 14 countries. Read the results.

Applying continuous quality improvement methods to water service delivery

An evaluation of World Vision’s continuous quality improvement programming in Ghana by the University of North Carolina found that the interventions of safe water storage containers, refresher training for WASH committees, and replacement of missing maintenance tools increased household water conformity to WHO safe drinking water standards from 17% to 40%, which persisted for two years post-implementation.

Ways to Give to Clean Water

Provide clean water and sanitation: $30+

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

Monthly giving is the most effective way to help children and families who need it most. Plus, it lowers costs, which means more of your gift helps kids!

Give a Share of a Deep Well: $150

Dirty water and poor sanitation and hygiene result in the deaths of nearly 1,000 children every day. A deep well can provide up to 2,800 gallons of safe, life-sustaining water every day for over 300 people. Your gift can save lives for years to come.

Ways to Give to Clean Water

Provide clean water and sanitation: $30+

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

Monthly giving is the most effective way to help children and families who need it most. Plus, it lowers costs, which means more of your gift helps kids!

Give a Share of a Deep Well: $150

Dirty water and poor sanitation and hygiene result in the deaths of nearly 1,000 children every day. A deep well can provide up to 2,800 gallons of safe, life-sustaining water every day for over 300 people. Your gift can save lives for years to come.

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

Choose one and see how our work gets done.

Health

Poverty in America

Economic Empowerment

Clean Water

Education

Christian Faith

Disaster Relief

Child Protection

Gender Equality

Disability Inclusion

Refugees & Fragile States

Child Sponsorship