Our Work

Worldwide, 35-50% of water projects fail within the first 5 years.

WE HAVE COMPLETED 1,937 PROJECTS - AND NOT ONE HAS FAILED.

We know this because we follow-up with consistent project monitoring.

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT & OWNERSHIP ARE KEY.

Community members receive extensive training to build, operate, and maintain their projects in perpetuity. Our projects are designed to serve the whole community: homes, schools, health clinics, and community centers all receive water and toilets. This comprehensive, cost-effective approach has the greatest health and economic impacts on a community. Once communities have organized to solve their water and sanitation problems, they tackle other high priority issues, such as roads and education. Water is the catalyst.

WOMEN PLAY AN INTEGRAL PART.

Women serve in key leadership roles in the governance and maintenance of their water and sanitation systems. Women receive the greatest direct benefit from a water project and have the most incentive to keep it operating. It makes sense to give them control of day-to-day operations. Having a role as a water committee member or hygiene promoter enhances women’s skills, making them stronger, more respected community members.

CONSISTENT SUPPORT PROMOTES EXCELLENCE.

We implement projects in collaboration with our local partner organizations and provide them with stable, consistent funding. Each local office employs water, sanitation, and public health professionals who know best how to identify, design, and build appropriate technologies. They are experts in community organizing and empowerment. Stable funding enables our partners to engage in long-term strategic planning, and to retain qualified staff who develop and maintain strong relationships with local communities and leaders. This approach also allows us to efficiently saturate a region with water and sanitation projects.

WHY OUR PROJECTS LAST

We believe poor people are their own best resource in escaping poverty. We listen, involve community members in each step of the process, and fund solutions based on their priorities.

CONVENIENT WATER SUPPLIES

Easy access to clean water creates opportunity. With the constant burden of water-fetching and illness lifted, families can move beyond the demands of daily survival. Women have time for income-generating activities. Families begin to save money. Girls can go to school. Addressing the water and sanitation needs of the world’s poorest is the one activity that, when done properly, saves lives and generates benefits that can break the cycle of extreme poverty.

toilet

TOILETS AND HAND-WASHING

Clean water alone is not enough. All Water1st projects integrate toilets, hygiene education, and piped water systems. Studies have consistently shown that together – water, toilets, and hygiene – stop the spread of disease and save lives. We have also seen that projects which provide multiple benefits, like increased time and labor savings, are more likely to be maintained over the long-term by our project participants. Learn more.

followup

PROJECT FOLLOW-UP

Applying a comprehensive program evaluation system is one of our central operating principles. We routinely visit our projects to evaluate our work, to hold our partners accountable, and to share and exchange knowledge. We make sure each project is providing the intended benefits and generating the best possible outcomes. You can be confident that your donation is wisely spent and is making a real difference in the lives of the people we serve. Read our story + guiding principles.

SINCE 2005

$ million
raised
,937
water projects completed
,000
people with clean water
countries

WHERE WE WORK

BANGLADESH:

1,873 Projects completed
121,615 people served in urban slums of Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna.
Learn more.

ETHIOPIA:

6 large piped water
systems completed
serving 21,084 people
Learn more.

HONDURAS:

23 Projects completed
37 Communities served
10,600 People with
water + toilets at their houses.
Learn more.

INDIA:

35 wells and hand pumps
serving 14,400 people
Learn more.

MOZAMBIQUE:

Our newest program with projects commencing in 2017
Learn more.

STORIES FROM THE FIELD