Clean Water

Clean water means life. For children living in poverty, in can also mean freedom – freedom from waterborne illnesses and long daily treks to haul home water for the family. Our clean water, sanitation and hygiene programs give children back their health. And their lives.

You helped us build and improve 16,688 latrines, keeping more children safe from illness associated with poor sanitation. 
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Global water issues affect women and girls more than any others.
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Reaching everyone where we work with clean water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030! 
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Our approach
World Vision brings clean water to some of the neediest people in the world.  We’ve been doing it for more than 30 years.  There are few things that improve a child’s chances more effectively than a nearby source of clean, safe water.

In providing clean water, we not only keep children safe from waterborne illness.  We reduce the burden on people who otherwise would have to make long, exhausting daily treks for water.  These are typically women and children.  They no longer need to spend large portions of their lives, just fetching and carrying water.  With more time available for learning, children do far better in school.
Clean water brings the greatest benefit to families, when combined with improved sanitation and better hygiene.  That way, children are also safe from disease that can be spread through human waste and lack of hand-washing.

In the global aid community, water, sanitation and hygiene programs are known as WASH.  Through WASH programs, we work to improve children’s health, and decrease the likelihood and severity of illness.  

In creating our WASH programs, we listen to the most vulnerable members of a community.  Girls are affected differently by the lack of safe latrines than boys are, for instance.  School can be a dangerous place for a girl if there’s no safe place to go to the washroom.  This keeps far too many girls away from an education.

Clean drinking water, combined with improved sanitation and good hygiene, can help keep people safe from deadly illness.  Healthier adults can provide more effectively for their children.  And healthy children do better in school, and can attend more often.

Providing hygiene education and sanitation facilities – like latrines and hand-washing stations –dramatically multiplies the health benefits of safe water.  It helps 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
World Vision develops the most appropriate safe water source for each community we work in.  We use technologies like drilling deep wells, to reach aquifers far below ground.  We might also hand-drill wells, when the water table is close to the surface.

In larger communities, wells might need to serve a great number of people.  We might mechanize the wells, using solar pumps.  When fresh spring water is available, we can protect and cap the spring, to provide water to nearby communities.  We also often use rainwater-harvesting systems to provide clean water at schools.

We want communities to be able to manage the water sources, long after World Vision’s work in the area is finished.  We train people to work together, to maintain and repair water points.  We invest an average of 15 years in a community, so people learn to take ownership, keeping the water flowing well into the future. 

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.
We help change behaviors in a community.  Clean, safe latrines are important, but so is getting people involved in helping build them.  People who are proud of the structures they’ve helped build and more eager to use them and maintain them. 

When we work with community members to install hand-washing stations, we teach them how germs and bacteria can make people sick.   We educate them about washing both hands and dishes with soap, or even ash.  We train them to handle and store clean water, so it stays safe.
Here are some of the ways we’re improving things all around, to keep children and families healthy and safe:
  • Partnerships: We’ve developed a wide range of partnerships including with some of the best academic institutions, corporations and foundations. 
  • 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.  This can reduce costs to one tenth of the original.  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.
The results of a study investigating the effect of improved water supply on the presence of diarrhea in children under five. 
Natural disasters can destroy water infrastructure, and contaminate clean water sources. Here’s what we’ve accomplished in Sri Lanka since the 2004 tsunami.
  • 235,895 people learned about the importance of water safety, proper sanitation and hygiene to stay healthy
  • 1,798 new or improved water sources are providing access to safe water, protecting children against waterborne diseases
  • 2,990 new or improved latrines are granting families better access to sanitation and helping to protect children from illness
  • 3,889 community members were trained to repair and maintain water sources, ensuring safe water access for children and families
  • 218 committees are promoting sanitary behaviours and managing water supply systems to ensure long term access to clean water
*Results of World Vision Canada’s projects achieved from October 2018 to September 2019
**Results include the PINKK program undertaken in partnership with Nutrition International, Développement international Desjardins, Government of Senegal’s Cellule de Lutte contre la Malnutrition and Government of Canada, and the ENRICH program undertaken in partnership with Nutrition International, HarvestPlus, Canadian Society for International Health, University of Toronto and Government of Canada.​

Ways to give to Clean Water

Give Clean Water: $25+

Provide clean water, improve sanitation and hygiene and bring real change.

We believe every child has the right to clean water.


Latrine for a Community: $125

Properly built and installed latrines, along with hygiene education, can improve health for a whole community. This is an unusual, yet practical and truly meaningful gift.

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Where We Work

Together with your support, we are bringing about real change for children, families and communities in more than 50 countries.
From Canada to the world. With love.

children walking through brush