Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

Published: Jul 27, 2015 Reading time: 5 minutes
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
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Water, sanitation and hygiene is one of priority sectors in development work. To ensure  universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 is one of Sustainable development goals. 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 struggle with a lack of good-quality drinking water. There are no reliable water supply or sewerage systems, and the existing water sources are often fragile and contaminated. Local women and children in many regions spend much of the day carrying water from sources that are miles away. Unsafe water consumption causes many diseases and epidemics that plague entire regions.

The problem is further aggravated by the fact that in developing countries there is usually an insufficient awareness of hygiene and the risks related to the consumption of unsafe water. Improper hygiene and sanitation practices lead to increase of water borne diseases. Lack of management causes low sustainability thus 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, concentration 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 nonfunctional in short time.

Administrative, financial and technical capacity of the water management structures remains to be a challenge. The modality for ensuring adequate financial resources to cover the long-term costs of water schemes has not been 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 is 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 and investment into of local administrations and/or CBOs.  KAP surveys conducted by PIN in rural areas reveal that despite of repetitive hygiene and sanitation promotion campaigns provided by various actors, practice of safe and hygienic behavior remains low even though knowledge is often on high level.


Above mentioned root causes can be solved by integrated and multi sectoral approach including components of education, health, food security and resilience. Apart from building new sources of drinking water, which goes hand-in-hand with thorough and demonstrative training courses on hygiene we focus on water resource management and sustainability.

As part of its projects, PIN monitors functionality of water sources as well as tests quality of water at the source level.

Worldwide, PIN has been implementing long term integrated WASH programs as well as quick humanitarian relief operations. Our primary beneficiaries are rural communities as well as institutions such as schools or health centers. In Afghanistan through National Solidarity program we have helped hundreds of rural communities with access to drinking water in connection of improving livelihoods. In Ethiopia and Cambodia WASH is a part of larger Resilience and Disaster preparedness programs. In Angola, PIN is a deeply involved in government program that aims at behavioral change in sanitation practices through Community lead total sanitation (CLTS) projects. In Cambodia and DR Congo we integrate WASH into health program, working closely with health institutions in order to reduce water borne diseases. WASH in also a part of large relief operations after earthquakes, floods or droughts. In counties like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Burma we have helped thousands to recover from disasters via provision of drinking water and sanitation services.


Read more about our WASH projects in selected countries:





The Story of Sefiya JuarSefiya 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.



Give a Real Gift!

In our e-shop you can purchase a gift certificate where you can write a personal message and give this unique gift to any of your friends and family. The proceeds from the sale of certificates are used to provide people in need with drinking water, education, healthcare or new livelihoods, and thus their economic independence. By purchasing a Real Gift from the WATER category, you will make it easier for people to access drinking water. Without this gift, they have to travel long hours to obtain drinking water or are exposed to illnesses caused by drinking dirty water.