WASH Projects - Facts

WAter - Sanitation - Hygiene

The provision of sufficient amounts of drinking water, and in acceptable quality, is becoming increasingly problematic for private households, agriculture and industry worldwide.

It's the world's economically poorest who suffer the most under the increasing shortage of water resources. Half the population in developing countries - around 2.3 billion people - live without sanitation and around 663 million people do not have sustainable access to clean, safe water.


The main causes for pollution and scarcity of natural water resources are:

  • Lack or non-existent water protection and pollution control
  • insufficient sanitation
  • harmful substances from industry and agriculture
  • overexploitation of existing sources
  • climate change
  • extreme weather conditions

Additionally, water polluted by faeces cause many waterborne diseases, which kill around 1.9 million people each year; an additional 1.2 million die from malaria.

Welthungerhilfe sees the growing global problem in terms of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as a central challenge to overcome poverty and hunger. Improved access to water and sanitation are the main goals in order to ameliorate health of the people in the project area; but it will also improve the economic circumstances and the environment.

The sector has a strong technical component and includes all three phases of development (relief, rehabilitation and development):

  • exploitation, storage, distribution and processing of drinking water from ground and surface water;
  • aspects of household and village hygiene, and
  • measures to sustainably include water and sanitation services at a local level (communities, local authorities, political structures and industry)

The latter point encompasses constitution, consultation and networking of institutions, knowledge management, sensitisation campaigns and foundation, development and support of water committees under the term water governance. Workshops on maintenance and servicing of WASH components are an integral part of all Welthungerhilfe WASH projects.

Training and sensitisation exercises are continuously gaining importance in the cross-sectional areas of gender, minimising the risk of natural disaster and the environment, in order to make activities more sustainable and outcome focused. Taking into consideration the principles of integrated water resource management, a sustainable management of ground and surface waters is ensured. This in turn ensures social and economic development and functionality of vital ecosystems.

Welthungerhilfe is currently running 30 projects in the WASH sector with a total budget of 20 million Euros. The regional focal point is rural south and east Africa. In total, around one million people benefit from the rehabilitation of old and also newly built water utility units.

Sanitation and water hygiene are part of all water projects: by means of building toilets and hand wash facilities in primary schools in rural Africa and Asia, the concept of hygiene is integrated in education from an early age. Regionally adapted solutions and cultural acceptance are the basic requirement for drinking water and sanitation facilities to be used. Intensive awareness training and hygiene seminars in the villages are part of the main tasks. Only if the links between poor hygiene, the contamination of drinking water and food and diarrhoea is clear, will a change in behaviour follow and ultimately reduce the high rate of child mortality worldwide.