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: Delivering 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.

It’s not enough just to ensure communities have taps and toilets. For maximum health benefits it’s also vital that communities improve hygiene.

We promote good hygiene with public awareness campaigns, household discussions, demonstrations, radio programs, plays and puppet shows, picture books, games, posters, and videos that encourage people to:

  • wash their hands, faces, bodies, and clothes
  • safely dispose of feces, refuse, and wastewater
  • prepare and store food properly
  • protect their water supply and store water safely
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.

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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

Our local partners

We partner with a variety of local organizations including:

  • Local non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Local and national government departments
  • Private utility companies

We invest in our local partners to enable them to deliver their water, sanitation and hygiene programs. We typically provide financial support, training and technical advice as well as help with planning, budgeting and institutional development.

As partners grow stronger, they become less reliant on WaterAid’s technical and financial support and can seek funds from other sources. When this happens, we often start working with newer or less well-established partners and so the cycle of training and development continues.

Some of the technologies we use


We use technologies that are low-cost, appropriate to the local area, and can be easily maintained by the communities who use them

Borehole drilling

The borehole drilling rig

Used in areas where there is very hard rock or water needs to be collected from a greater depth.

Rainwater harvesting

The rainwater harvesting jar

One jar can supply several households with up to 300 gallons of filtered rainwater collected from a clean roof and gutter.

Gravity flow system

The gravity flow system

Pipes are laid to carry water downhill from mountain springs to storage tanks that feed water points in the heart of the community.

Rope pump

The rope pump

This basic water pump is simple for communities to maintain as it can be constructed from recycled parts like bicycle wheels, rope and scrap metal.


We use the most appropriate, affordable and sustainable solution to the local sanitation situation.

The gulper

The Gulper

In dense urban areas where there is no room to construct new toilets when latrine pits are full, waste can be removed using a small hand pump called the Gulper.

VIP latrine

The ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine

VIP latrines are dry pit latrines fitted with concrete squat slabs, a hut known as the superstructure, and a vent pipe to take smells and insects away.

Composting latrine

The composting latrine

Composting or ecological sanitation (EcoSan) latrines benefit local agriculture by creating a safe, renewable source of fertile compost from human waste. They often have two pits: while one pit is in use the other full pit is sealed while its contents decompose.

Technology videos

Composting toilet

Buddhi Sipai from Nepal explains how his composting toilet provides free compost he can use to grow fruit and vegetables with.

Rainwater harvesting

Toujani from Mali explains how his community collects rainwater during the rainy season and stores it in a tank ready for use during the dry season, which saves them having to travel to the next village in search of water.

Rope pump

Martin Ouedraogo, affectionately known as “the rope pump guy” by locals in his community in Burkina Faso, explains how rope pumps work and how they are helping to reduce water-related diseases.