WASH - Water, sanitation and hygiene

Published: May 23, 2017 Reading time: 4 minutes
Water, sanitation and hygiene
© PIN archive

Water, sanitation and hygiene is one of priority sectors in development work. One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. PIN has been active in this sector for more than 15 years and has provided safe drinking water for communities around the globe.

Root causes

Most developing countries today lack good-quality drinking water. There are no reliable water supply or sewerage systems, and the existing water sources are often feeble and contaminated. Local women and children in many regions spend much of the day carrying water from sources miles away. Consumption of unsafe water can cause many diseases and epidemics that plague entire regions.

The problem is further aggravated by the fact that in developing countries there is usually insufficient awareness of hygiene and the risks related to the consumption of unsafe water. Improper hygiene and sanitation practices lead to an increase of water-borne diseases. Lack of management causes low sustainability, thus the efficiency and effectiveness of WASH interventions is at stake. Tackling diarrheal diseases is the main objective of PIN WASH interventions.

Poor access and non-sustainability of water facilities

Sustainable access to safe water and improved hygiene and sanitation practices are crucial for achieving social and economic development, improving health and livelihoods. With the IPCC predicting increasing disruption of weather patterns due to climate change, combined with population growth, surface water supplies are becoming less reliable, increasing the pressure on groundwater supplies that require more complex systems of management.

However, a focus on water source provision through infrastructure construction is not a stand-alone solution. If solid and lasting management system is not in place, water sources are likely to become non-functional in a short time.

Administrative, financial and technical capacity of water management structures remains a challenge. The modality for ensuring adequate financial resources to cover the long-term costs of water schemes has yet to be sufficiently evaluated, standardized and implemented. The assumption that rural communities should be able to cover all costs is flawed and there is a need for alternative cost-sharing agreements.


Inadequate hygiene and sanitation practices

There exists a lack of awareness and social norms that prevent good hygiene and sanitation practices. In some countries, governments adopt country-wide strategies such as Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) to eradicate open defecation. Implementation of such strategies requires involvement of and investment into local administrations and/or CBOs. KAP surveys conducted by PIN in rural areas reveal that despite repetitive hygiene and sanitation promotion campaigns conducted by various actors, the practice of safe and hygienic behaviour often remains limited even though awareness is widespread.


The root causes mentioned above can be solved by an integrated and multi-sectoral approach, integrating education, health, food security and resilience. In addition to building new sources of drinking water, which goes hand-in-hand with thorough and demonstrative hygiene training , we focus on water resource management and sustainability.

In the course of its projects, PIN monitors the functionality of water sources as well as testing water quality at source level.

PIN has been implementing long-term, integrated WASH programmes worldwide as well as rapid humanitarian relief operations. Our primary beneficiaries are rural communities as well as institutions such as schools or health centres. Through the National Solidarity programme in Afghanistan, we have helped hundreds of rural communities gain access to drinking water in connection with improving livelihoods. In Ethiopia and Cambodia WASH is a part of larger Resilience and Disaster Preparedness programmes. In Angola, PIN is a deeply involved in a government programme targeting behavioural change in sanitation practices through Community Lead Total Sanitation (CLTS) projects. In Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we integrate WASH into our health programme, working closely with health institutions in order to reduce water-borne diseases. WASH also forms part of large relief operations following earthquakes, floods or droughts. In countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Burma, we have helped thousands to recover from disasters through provision of drinking water and sanitation services.

Read more about our WASH projects in selected countries:





The Story of Sefiya Juar
Sefiya Juar lives with her child in the village of Kulufo in Ethiopia. Her husband died a long time ago. She used to take water from the local borehole in Kulufo. However this water source has stopped working two years ago and she had to walk for more than six hours to neighboring villages or use dirty river water. Due to health problems caused by sun exposure and drinking polluted water, sometimes she was unable to walk and depended on the help of other people. Thanks to People in Need, the borehole in Kulufo was repaired and Ms. Juar can easily get clean water from a nearby source again.

News and stories:

Ethiopia: Drought response brings smiles on women's faces

Continuing to deliver long term access to drinking water in Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Water trucks and donkeys fight against drought

Water and Jobs - World Water Day 2016

Welcome to WaterReport

Establishment of a sustainable system of drinking water supply in small towns of Sidama Zone, Ethiopia

Every third man does not have his own toilet, People in Need is helping to change that

Autor: PIN

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