Clean Water and Sanitation

Clean water and sanitation form the basic building blocks of a safe and healthy life. We work to ensure that they’re available to those who need them most. Learn how you can help.

Clean Water and Sanitation

It’s estimated that by 2040, most of the world will struggle to meet its year-round demand of water. As cities like Cape Town fight to avoid “day zero,” other countries see water crises lead to larger conflict — as seen in the Syrian conflict’s roots in a national drought. Concern works to ensure that two of the most basic and essential building blocks of a safe and healthy life — clean water and sanitation — are available to those who need them most.

Why Clean Water?

Without access to clean water and effective sanitation, those who carry the burden of poverty will continue to struggle for survival. Waterborne disease is seen as the biggest killer in the world today, taking a greater human toll than war, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction combined.

It is a core part of our mission to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable people get the basics they need to build better lives.

The problem is complex and has many different contexts. We work with people suddenly displaced by war or climate shock, who have immediate and urgent need for clean, safe water.

Water Resources

Concern supplies water via truck, constructs temporary water points and latrines, and provides hygiene items.

We also work hand-in-hand with hundreds of communities to help them assess the longstanding challenges they face, change behaviors, build needed permanent infrastructure such as wells, pump systems and latrines, and ensure the infrastructure will be maintained for the long term.


According to the World Health Organization, each year almost 400,000 children under the age of five die from diarrheal diseases, which are often caused by poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water. But it’s not only humans who rely on water. Most animals and plants can’t survive without it either.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that good hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of infection and diarrheal diseases. In the developing world, these infections are a leading cause of illness and death.

Many of the diseases and infections that affect the communities we work with are 100% preventable. As part of Concern’s water, sanitation, and hygiene programming (WASH) we help provide clean water and teach people good habits so they can stay healthy.

How We Do It


We realize that many of the most vulnerable areas won’t stand up ecologically or fiscally against mechanized drilling. We’ve led initiatives to restore clean water wells in these communities, such as Kouango in the Central African Republic, using hand-powered drills to restore the clean water supplies destroyed by the government. We hired community members to form teams, and now that members of the village are trained in operating these manual drills, they are now earning a fair wage — and bringing this knowledge to other communities. This is only one example of the ways in which Concern uses fresh thinking and research to help communities build sustainable futures.

Women & Children

Every day, millions of women and children in developing countries walk several hours a day to collect water that is often unsafe to drink. Unclean water causes millions of people–especially young children–to contract potentially deadly waterborne diseases yearly. We lose an estimated 4,100 children under the age of five each day because of diarrhea. Water and sanitation programs are key to Concern’s efforts to fight back.

Community Empowerment

We work with communities to raise awareness of good hygiene practices, and we offer training to manage and maintain local water sources. We also partner with community members to build household and school latrines, boreholes, rainwater harvesting systems, groundwater wells and other water structures. Our work builds upon traditional community structures, and is designed to be sustainable in the long term.