Syria refugee crisis

Pray with us and provide aid to refugees in increasingly desperate situations.
Learn more

$
Home > Our Impact > Clean Water
Clean Water | World Vision

Help provide clean water

Our impact on safe drinking water

Nearly 1,600 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene. We believe the global water and sanitation crisis can be solved within our lifetimes, and 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.

World Vision is the leading nongovernmental (NGO) provider of clean water. We reach one new person with clean water every 30 seconds. We work alongside communities so that they take ownership in maintenance and repair of water points. This results in water that continues to flow long after our work concludes.

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

16,340

new or improved wells and water points

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

Every 30 seconds

a new person receives clean water; that’s at least 1 million a year!

Achievement made possible beginning in 2013 with the support of World Vision donors.

288,303

sanitation facilities built with World Vision guidance

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

Evaluations and Evidence

Water continues to flow from World Vision water points because of our integrated community engagement model. One of the premier academic groups in water research, the University of North Carolina Water Institute, conducted an independent study examining 1,470 water sources in 520 communities located in Greater Afram Plains of Ghana, where World Vision has been providing wells since 1985. Nearly 80 percent of World Vision wells studied continued to function at high levels even after 20 years, thanks largely to our community engagement model.

Consistent with this community approach to sustainability, research showed an identified water committee and evidence of charging a fee for use of the water were the main reasons associated with the continued functionality of the water points. These best practices, including training local people as mechanics to repair pumps when they break down, are part of the reason why World Vision wells set the standard for sustainability.

The study found that the odds of non-World Vision water sources being functional decreased by 2 percent each year, whereas the functionality of water sources installed by World Vision did not significantly decrease with age.

A comprehensive solution

Our water, sanitation, and hygiene efforts are part of a full plan that addresses the many factors that perpetuate poverty. Water is foundational, but we don’t stop there: Our long-term, comprehensive model, investing in each community for an average of 15 years, also works to ensure sustainable improvements in health, education, economic development, gender equality, food and agriculture, child protection, and spiritual well-being.

Our Approach

+ Expert Corner: Dr. Greg Allgood

Dr. Greg AllgoodHe’s on a mission for the poor. World Vision’s vice president for water, Dr. Greg Allgood, has more than 30 years of experience in clean water research and nonprofit work. He holds a Master of Science in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in toxicology from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Allgood 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.

Today he uses his field expertise as an ambassador for World Vision’s water work. On this page, he shares 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 (WASH)? Can you give me an overview?

Over the past 30 years, World Vision has developed deep expertise in providing clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene training, refining our approach and reaching millions of people with clean water.

With the recent acceleration of our water, sanitation, and hygiene program delivery, World Vision now reaches more than 1 million people with clean water every year — that’s one new person every 30 seconds. In total, World Vision conducted water, sanitation, and hygiene programs in more than 50 countries in 2013, 20 of them with funding from U.S. donors.

As a recognized leader among humanitarian organizations in the provision of clean water, World Vision currently has more than 500 WASH experts worldwide. These teams of technical experts use cost-effective, proven approaches to co-create with communities sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions.

+ 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 develops the most appropriate clean 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 gives communities 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 gladly learn from us 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.

An independent study conducted by one of the premier academic groups in water research, the University of North Carolina Water Institute, showed that nearly 80 percent of World Vision water points continued to function at high levels even after 20 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 can 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

Learn more >
Our Impact: Child Protection | World Vision

Child Protection

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

Learn more >
Our Impact: Disaster Relief | World Vision

Disaster Relief

Life-saving emergency relief and long-term response

Learn more >
Our Impact: Economic Development | World Vision

Economic Development

Financial empowerment for communities

Learn more >
Our Impact: Education | World Vision

Education

Equipping children for a future of opportunity

Learn more >
Our Impact: Food & Agriculture | World Vision

Food & Agriculture

Building food security; fighting hunger and malnutrition

Learn more >
Our Impact: Health | World Vision

Health

Promoting well-being for children, families, and communities

Learn more >
Our Impact: U.S. Work | World Vision

U.S. Work

Assisting and empowering our American neighbors

Learn more >
Our Impact: Our Faith | World Vision

Our Faith

Following Jesus’ example through our global work

Learn more >
Our Impact: Gender | World Vision

Gender

Promoting gender equality to bring fullness of life for all

Learn more >