Sanitation and Hygiene in Asia | Plan International Skip to main content

Sanitation and Hygiene in Asia

Nearly 1.8 billion people in Asia still lack access to proper sanitation and nearly 700 million people still lack access to potable water. Plan International is working across the Asia to ensure all children have clean drinking water and can live in a clean and sanitary environment.

Children in the Philippines practice washing their hands at a Child Friendly Space.
From making soap in Sri Lanka, to building toilets in schools in Timor-Leste, Plan International is working across the region to ensure all children have access to clean water and toilets. 

Safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation are necessary for the survival and development of children and youth as well as the economic well-being of their families and communities.


To enable girls, boys and families from hard to reach groups and settings to gain access to sustainable, safe drinking water and improved sanitation, and to bring about sustained improvements in personal hygiene in households and critical community and institutional settings while safeguarding the environment. 

Priority areas

  • Sanitation: Plan International is recognized as a leading organization in the implementation of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). The CLTS approach empowers communities to take collective action and mobilizes to eliminate open defecation and encourages use of locally available and affordable resources so that community members can build their own facilities without outside assistance. 
  • Hygiene: Hygiene is promoted through a variety of methods for behaviour change and is influenced by the child-centred community development approach. Working with children and their communities to promote behaviour change through child-to-child approaches encourages children and youth take on a strong role in influencing their peers and families at home to adopt positive hygiene behaviours.
  • Safe drinking water: Provision of safe water to schools and communities is supported through appropriate technology and participation of children and communities.


Collecting water is a task that is usually the responsibility of women and children, and Plan International is building taps close to homes so that children have more time to study and to play and they no longer have to make frequent, and sometimes dangerous journeys to collect water.

Our Water and Sanitation teams have created hygiene clubs in schools where students have learnt the importance of washing their hands - one of the most simple things they can do to stay healthy and avoid the spread of preventable diseases.

We are also building and renovating toilets in schools so they are child-friendly, provide privacy and encourage children, especially girls to stay at school.

Plan International is working with governments, partners and communities to make homes and schools more healthy places for all children. 

Achievement in numbers

  • Almost 8.8 million people (Indonesia, Pakistan and Nepal) have been able to live in open-defacation free communities.
  • 1.2 million adults and children in 2,008 villages have been reached through hygiene promotion activities. 
  • 100,000 boys and girls have benefited from improved WASH facilities in 1,022 schools supported by Plan International India.
  • Sanitation access increased from 20% to 83% in areas supported by Plan International Timor Leste. 
  • Through partnership and advocacy, Plan International Bangladesh supported 101 Union Parishads (Local Government Institutions) to strengthen its WASH governance by regularly allocating budget for sanitation interventions managed by trained community-based committees.

Impact of our work