Water & sanitation

Three-quarters of a billion people lack access to clean water, most of them in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. That’s almost the entire population of the European Union and United States combined.

While water isn’t at the core of our work, an increasing number of Hand in Hand programs have been developed to tackle this important issue. Clean water and sanitation aren’t just about technology, after all: they’re also about awareness. Hand in Hand’s Self-Help Groups put our trainers in a unique position to educate members about the importance of clean water and sanitation. And once they’ve learned, members are in a unique position to start social enterprises selling clean water to their communities.

This is particularly true in India, where we’ve long been partnered with clean water NGO water.org, as well as Kenya, where our Water Entrepreneurs pilot project brought safe drinking water to the rural community of Machakos.

By the numbers

water page india - india figure

Source: BBC


48 percent of Indians lack access to proper sanitation

water page india - kenya figure

Source: World Bank


The average Kenyan has access to 650 cubic meters of water a year – far below the UN’s recommended amount of 1,000

water page india - global figure

Source: UN


750 million people lack access to clean water worldwide

water page india

Aravamuthu | Organice rice farmer | Tamil Nadu, India

In 2008, Hand in Hand partnered with water.org to educate rural south Indians about the importance of safe drinking water and provide microfinance for the construction of 16,000 taps and 4,000 toilets. The Water Credit program achieved scale in India, providing water.org with proof the model worked.

“I wish all our partners were as stellar as Hand in Hand India,” said water.org co-founder Matt Damon.

Today, Hand in Hand teaches water.org’s newest partners in India how to replicate the program’s success. We’ve also carried on building toiletssome 11,260 so far – and helped more than 154,000 people with water used for organic farming.

Hand in Hand Eastern Africa’s Water Entrepreneurs pilot project was launched in April 2014 to fight water scarcity with social enterprise in Machakos, one of the driest regions in Kenya. Funded by the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, the project hoped to train 50 women to purify, conserve and sell water. By the time the year-long project came to a close, 472 women had been trained, launching 30 water enterprises and bringing access to clean drinking water to an estimated 1,200 people. The Sisters of Faith water entrepreneurs, pictured right, is one such enterprise.

We’re seeking funding for the program’s extension. For details, please email Agnes Svensson.