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Water and sanitation

Children washing their hands

There is a global crisis in water and sanitation, with diarrhoea killing at least 1,200,000 under-5s each year.

Plan works with communities to improve access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation and to raise awareness of the importance of hand washing and waste management.

In 2013, Plan supported 326,950 households to improve their sanitation facilities, and helped communities to build or refurbish 4,809 water points.

Education key

Billions of people lack access to basic sanitation and are forced to defecate out in the open, contaminating food and water supplies.

We educate communities about the importance of sanitation and encourage them to strive for a total ban on open defecation.

Communities take the lead

Distance to water for African children

See distances to and sources of water for African children

Plan supports communities to take the lead in improving their own sanitation, promoting the rights of women, girls and marginalised groups and spreading the message about hygiene.

We work alongside government, communities and local groups to ensure that initiatives are sustainable in the long term.

Read Plan publications on water and sanitation

Case studies

Bangladeshi children demand total sanitation

Bangladeshi children demand total sanitation

Children in Dinajpur, Bangladesh, have been taking direct action to protect their health ever since Plan introduced Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) to over 200 villages in the district in 2004.

Harvesting rainwater in Nepal

Harvesting rainwater in Nepal

Families from Damgade in Makwanpur, Nepal, used to be afraid of the dry months, when they were forced to travel long distances each day to access drinking water – but not anymore.