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Water & sanitation

Access to water, sanitation & hygiene | Action Against Hunger

Providing access to water, sanitation & hygiene

Water is essential for life. But across the globe a staggering 2.5 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation and 783 million have no access to clean water. 

Clean and abundant water, good sanitation and appropriate hygiene are key to maintaining a healthy environment, especially for children. Children who are already malnourished are more susceptible to disease spread by dirty water and poor hygiene practices because their immune systems are weaker. And, in turn, waterborne diseases stop a child from absorbing vital nutrients and energy. So, a vicious circle develops that puts the child’s life at risk.

Our integrated approach to hunger and malnutrition therefore involves extending water and sanitation services to communities faced with water scarcity, unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. 


What we do

Providing access to safe water
Access to clean water is critical to keeping children and their families nourished and healthy. In an acute crisis we deliver clean water directly to communities via trucks or temporary water bladders. Where water is scarce or unsafe, we drill and decontaminate wells, install hand-pumps, protect natural springs, develop water infrastructure, and pipe water into hard-to-reach villages and health centres.

Improving access to sanitation
Adequate sanitation is paramount to tackle and prevent the outbreak of waterborne disease. We therefore improve sanitation by building latrines, providing families with a safe and private place to go to the toilet.

Promoting good hygiene practices
To prevent outbreaks of disease during a crisis, our teams distribute hygiene kits and build hand-washing stations. All our water, sanitation and hygiene programmes include the promotion of good hygiene practices like hand-washing, cooking with clean utensils, and drawing water from protected sources at schools, in health centres or at home. This allows us to minimise waterborne disease and ensure that the health benefits of safe water and sanitation are maximised

Ensuring lasting change
Our commitment to community participation ensures long-term capacity: we train community-based water committees to manage their water and sanitation infrastructure themselves, and organise village health teams to model good sanitation and hygiene practices for their communities long after we leave an area. We also promote the right to water and sanitation at a national level so communities can hold their government to account when they fail to provide a clean supply of water and adequate sanitation.

Photo credits:  © ACF South Sudan