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Clean Water | World Vision

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Every child deserves clean water

Nearly 1,000 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. Get email updates with our Water Newsletter.

Our Commitment: World Vision and our partners commit to expanding our reach from providing clean water to one new person every 30 seconds to reaching one new person every 10 seconds with clean water and sanitation by 2020, and then continuing at that pace for another 10 years until we reach everyone everywhere we work by 2030.

World Vision works with communities to co-create solutions that last. Here are highlights from 2015:

2.37 million

people reached with improved water access.


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


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


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


communities certified as open defecation free by local governments.

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

Proving Our Impact: Evaluations and Evidence

We provide a comprehensive solution to solving the puzzle of poverty. 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 developmentgender equalityfood and agriculturechild protection, and spiritual well-being.

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 the 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 that 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.

This 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. Read a summary of the UNC study.




World Vision works with local communities and governments to ensure local ownership and support of our water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. We also work with a large number of academic, NGO, corporate, and foundation partners.

View a list of our partners here.

Our Approach

+ Expert Corner: Dr. Greg Allgood

He’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 safe 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 each year. We’ve not only learned many lessons from the decades we work in each community, but also have the ability to apply them, and pilot and test technologies that allow us to reach more people.

With the recent acceleration of our water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program delivery, World Vision now reaches one new person every 30 seconds. As a recognized leader among humanitarian organizations in the provision of 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. These experts are residents of the countries where they work and know firsthand the culture, history, and the unique WASH needs of the areas they serve.

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

Clean drinking water is the first step in improving the health of many families. Keeping water clean at home, as well as hygiene education and support for sanitation facilities, such as latrines and handwashing stations, dramatically multiplies the health benefits of safe water.

Focusing on hygiene and sanitation helps 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 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: 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: 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.

Our Areas of Impact

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Clean Water

The foundation of life, health, and freedom from poverty

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Child Protection

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

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Disaster Relief

Life-saving emergency relief and long-term response

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Economic Development

Financial empowerment for communities

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Equipping children for a future of opportunity

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Food & Agriculture

Building food security; fighting hunger and malnutrition

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Promoting well-being for children, families, and communities

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U.S. Work

Assisting and empowering our American neighbors

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Our Faith

Following Jesus’ example through our global work

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Promoting gender equality to bring fullness of life for all

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