Water and Sanitation

Having access to clean water and good sanitation are essential for health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, 750 million people are still deprived of safe water sources, and 2.5 billion do not have access to a basic toilet.

When people are forced to drink unclean water or resort to open defecation, they risk contracting and spreading serious water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid. Our work focuses on:

  • increasing access to safe water sources
  • building and maintaining water and sanitation systems
  • storing and distributing water
  • educating about hygiene and sanitation
  • developing good menstrual hygiene among school girls
  • influencing water and sanitation policy at different government levels


water and sanitationCase study: Malawi

Sisters Eneless, 17, and Onisha, 19, are from a village in Phalombe District and both have albinism.

In parts of Malawi, people are still superstitious about albinism. Some believe the body parts of people with albinism can be powerful ingredients in rituals. As a result, those with the condition are prone to abduction and murder. In Phalombe District, 74 people have albinism, and 4 have been killed.

The sisters’ village lacked a water supply and they had to make a 1.5km journey to fetch water from an unhygienic and unprotected well. A well with safe water was 2.5km away, but because of the danger of being abducted or killed, they couldn’t risk the journey.

The dangers the girls faced also affected their schooling. They were often late or missed classes as they had to wait until it was light enough to make the journey to the well. Because they missed so much work, they had to repeat levels at school.

By working with United Purpose and the local district council, we restored a safe and clean water supply directly to the village. Now, the girls have a water source close to their house and they don’t need to make the long and risky journey. It also means they don’t miss school and they can keep up with their lessons.

“With the rehabilitated tap, I can get to school. I have improved and I no longer repeat classes,” said Eneless.

The girls’ mother Alice also has peace of mind.

“I used to fear for my children’s lives before the tap was rehabilitated. Now I am very happy that my two little girls are safe,” she said.

As well as securing a safe water supply to the village, United Purpose has been working with local police forces on investigating and documenting cases of abduction or murder. United Purpose has also been working with local councils to destroy stigma around people with albinism, and create a safer and more equal community for all.

Everyone deserves access to clean water. Give a tax-deductible gift to help more people like Eneless and Onisha access water safely.



Action on Poverty

Action on Poverty