WaterAid and the Global Goals: A once-in-a-generation chance to reach everyone everywhere with water, sanitation and hygiene

24 Sep 2015

What’s happening

On 25-27 September the United Nations will wrap up years of negotiation in a special summit to inaugurate a new set of Global Goals, to eradicate extreme poverty and create a fairer, more sustainable world over the next 15 years.

Never before have nations come together to agree to such commitments as these 17 goals. Those of us in development know that work on these goals has already begun.

Efforts over the last 15 years, since the Millennium Development Goals were signed in 2000, have delivered access to clean water to 2.6 billion people. Another 2.1 billion have been reached with access to basic sanitation. But with nearly 2.4 billion people still without basic toilets and more than 650 million without access to clean water, there is still much work to be done.

Where we’ll be

WaterAid will have spokespeople available in New York and London before, during and after the UN special summit, including WaterAid Chief Executive Barbara Frost, and WaterAid America Chief Executive Sarina Prabasi. 

We are participating in the Action/2015 ‘Light the Way' vigils on 24 Sept in London and New York (with our own Behailu Shiferaw from WaterAid Ethiopia speaking to the crowd in London), we will be at the signing of the Goals on 25 Sept in New York, and we are participating in the Global Citizen Festival on 26 Sept with our well-known ‘Loo with a View’, which premiered earlier this year at the Glastonbury Festival, giving festival-goers a feel for what it’s like to relieve yourself with everyone watching.    

We’ll be part of Radio Everyone, launching at the festival, with our own Ernest Randriamalala from WaterAid Madagascar featuring as a Water and Sanitation Superhero, and our WaterAid Nepal partner Nepal Fertility Care Centre is featured in a health segment on taboos around menstruation in rural Nepal, where having a period can get a young woman exiled to a cowshed.

We are hosting an event with the Global Health Council on 26 September on the importance of including water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities, hosted by the Princess Sarah Zeid and President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. And finally, we are working with the UN to install printed ‘1 in 3’ toilet paper in UN buildings’ toilets, to remind all delegates at that very private moment that one in three people in the world don’t have access to safe, private toilets.

What we can talk about

How to reach everyone everywhere with water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices; why water, sanitation and hygiene are essential if we’re going to meet the other goals; water security and climate change; links between water, sanitation and hygiene and health, gender rights, education and urban environments.

We’ve also got case studies/interviews, photos and film footage we can share for reports.

For B-roll footage please see:

For a photo gallery please see:

  1. Water – Two days before the UN special summit begins a community in Madagascar will receive clean water for the first time, through a borehole supported by WaterAid. Contact us for previous footage or stills and stories of the big moment a community receives water, or for footage, stills and stories of what families must endure when getting water involves long, dangerous walks for water that makes them ill.
  2. Sanitation – Late last year, WaterAid worked with the urban slum of Rakhi Mandi in Uttar Pradesh, India to help families build toilets. Hear from a mother whose daughter was physically assaulted while she went out to relieve herself in the open, and how she found the determination to overcome legal, logistical and financial barriers to construct her own private toilet.
  3. Hygiene and health – More than a half-million newborns perish each year of preventable infections including septicaemia, mainly because they are born into dirty conditions and delivered by midwives who have been unable to properly wash hands with clean water and soap. WaterAid can provide footage, stills and stories from mothers who have endured the loss of a baby to infection as well as those who’ve had healthy, clean births after intervention in local clinics.
  4. Gender rights and education – WaterAid’s WASH in Schools programmes help keep girls in school by giving them a safe, private place to care for themselves during their periods, through School Hygiene Clubs that reduce the taboos that exist around menstruation, and through practical programmes that help girls make their own menstrual pads so they can better care for themselves. 

For more details or for interviews please contact:

About WaterAid

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities.  Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 23 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 21 million people with sanitation.  For more information, visit, follow @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at
  • Around 1,400 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s one child every minute.
  • Over 650 million people (around one in ten) are without safe water
  • Over 2.3 billion people (around one in three) live without improved sanitation 
  • For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of £4 is returned in increased productivity.