Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Access to clean water is a right, not a privilege

The Situation

It's easy to forget what a miracle water is. We drink it, we wash our hands and cook our food in it. Water is a key component of our life.

Yet access to clean water and safe sanitation - flushing toilets, or other forms of sewage treatment - is one of the biggest health issues around the world.

As part of our humanitarian response work, Oxfam is widely recognized as a leading organization helping people meet their needs for clean water, safe sanitation and hygiene advice (collectively known as WASH). For more than 15 years, Oxfam has been a leading member of the inter-agency WASH cluster, where we remain an influential leader and world authority on water in emergencies.

Water, sanitation, and hygiene underpin many of our poverty-fighting development projects.


Where needed most

Varies between 1-3 years

We are grateful for the financial support of the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada, and the generous Canadian public.

New logo from government of Canada that reads, in partnership with Canada.

Why water and sanitation?

Women and girls in poor countries walk on average six kms a day, carrying 20 litres of water that must satisfy the drinking, cooking and washing needs of the family.
or more children die each day from diarrhea caused by dirty water.
Millions of girls do not attend school because there aren't suitable sanitation facilities.

What are we doing?

Start the Flow

From personal water collection to large scale boreholes, we get the water flowing fast


Innovations like biodegradable peepoo bags, tigerworm toilets, urine diverter toilets ensure sanitary conditions and dignity.


Provide health and hygiene advice to ensure water and sanitation facilities are used properly to help prevent spread of disease.

Water is Life

WASH work with refugees from the DRC in Zambia, featuring Jessica Mwale from partner Action Africa Help.

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The water is retreating deeper and deeper [when wells are dug]. We live by water, our cattle live by water. Without water we are no more. If we can sustain our lives, it is because Oxfam gave us water. My greatest fear is if the trucks stop bringing water. What will happen to us?

an Ethiopian farmer, used to have 200 goats and 10 camels - they were her means of income. Now most of Habodo's animals have died due to a lack of water and pasture.

YOU can help women and girls get the water they need for life.

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