Our approach

We improve access to safe water, hygiene and toilets in the world’s poorest communities.

What we do     |     The crisis      |     Our Approach     |     Our Impact

Our Approach

We work with local partners to help communities access safe water and sanitation. And we use our experience and research to influence decision-makers to do more to provide these vital services.

We work in partnership with local organizations to help the poorest and most marginalized communities to set up practical and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene projects that meet their real needs.

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To make change happen we influence those people with the power to act. We bring our supporters and local communities together to encourage decision-makers to make the necessary investment in water and sanitation.

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WaterAid regularly produces materials about policy and practice in water, sanitation and hygiene. A comprehensive listing of all publications is available on our WaterAid global website at the link below.

Wateraid Publications

Guiding principles


WaterAids’s overseas projects include three vital and inter-related components, which taken together help to maximize health and development benefits. Clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene education are like the ABCs of development—the building blocks towards a better future.


Inadequate water and sanitation services affect all community members, but not all equally. For example, for women and girls, the disabled and elderly, the consequences can be severe and life-altering. WaterAid places great importance on fully consulting and making space for the meaningful participation of even the most marginalized individuals.

Woman at pump


WaterAid uses practical, locally-appropriate and cost-effective technologies so to ensure that operational maintenance requirements for the new water supply and sanitation facilities can be easily learned and adopted by local community members.

Image of latrine and children


All aspects of WaterAid’s projects are designed and implemented with long-term sustainability in mind. This means that upon completion of projects, community members are equipped with all the tools and knowledge required to manage and maintain their new facilities.

Public taps - Photo by Peter Bregg


WaterAid’s projects emphasize local participation and empowerment. We encourage community members to participate throughout all phases of the project’s implementation – from planning and construction to management and maintenance. We believe in giving a hand up, not a hand out.

Image of community pump


WaterAid believes that investing in local human resources lies at the very heart of progressive and sustainable development. We place great importance on providing our local partners with capacity building opportunities so as to strengthen their ability to implement high-quality projects.