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Kind schöpft Wasser mit den Händen

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Kerstin Bandsom Team Communications

Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is a human right and a prerequisite for fighting hunger and poverty. With an average of 20 new WASH focus projects approved each year, Welthungerhilfe reaches around two million beneficiaries, primarily located in the rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. 


According to UN Water, 2.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 4.2 billion lack safely-managed sanitation. More than 297,000 children under five die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to inadequate WASH. 

Crises, such as war and natural disasters, create and exacerbate large-scale humanitarian needs related to WASH. In emergency situations, inadequate sanitation and water supply plus poor hygiene make communities more susceptible to diarrhoeal and infectious diseases.  

Our Approach 

Around two-thirds of Welthungerhilfe WASH-related projects are integrated into multisectoral programmes that recognise the thematic linkages of WASH to health, nutrition security, gender equality and economic growth. The remaining third are interventions with a focus on WASH.  

Our programmes install appropriate, gender-responsive infrastructure to improve water supply for vulnerable communities. Welthungerhilfe also focusses on promoting proper hardware usage and behaviour change to achieve the health outcomes associated with improved WASH.   

The Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI) is an internal initiative of Welthungerhilfe, in partnership with Aguaconsult and German Toilet Organization and financially supported by Viva Con Agua. The SSI seeks to improve the sustainability of our WASH programmes, primarily through encouraging the uptake of a systems strengthening approach in Welthungerhilfe projects and advocating this sustainable approach in the sector and partner countries. 

Welthungerhilfe integrates WASH programmes into our emergency response to reduce public health risks associated with crisis situations. For instance, we install and maintain latrines and distribute hygiene kits in areas affected by crises. 

Our Impact

In the northeast of DR Congo, Welthungerhilfe WASH training projects and infrastructure are reducing the deadly impact of the worst outbreak of Ebola in the country's history. At least 600,000 people in the health zones of Goma, Karisimbi, Nyiragongo and Rutshuru will benefit from the measures.

Our WASH-related projects are currently supporting 447,000 people in Ethiopia. Most interventions are integrated into multi-sectoral programmes addressing malnutrition, from establishing community development councils to coordinating and implementing villages' decisions to rehabilitate water sources. 

In Iraq and Syria, Welthungerhilfe has been supporting internally displaced people and Syrian civil war victims inside camps with hygiene and sanitation promotion activities. 515,000 people are currently benefiting from improved WASH.