WaterAid welcomes DFID focus on water, sanitation and hygiene in development reviews


1 Dec 2016

WaterAid today welcomes renewed commitment from the Department for International Development (DFID) to water, sanitation and hygiene, and a focus on the poorest who are furthest behind.

Today’s Bilateral Development Review confirms DFID’s intention to provide access to safe water and sanitation for a further 60 million people between 2016-2020, and to include a welcome focus on hygiene.

Among DFID’s other pledges:

  • To continue to meet the UK’s commitment on 0.7% of GNI for aid  
  • To lead the world on nutrition, education and global health, including action on preventable maternal and child deaths. WaterAid looks forward to stronger coordination between programmes focusing on those areas and programmes for water, sanitation and hygiene, as these are essential to stronger, lasting results.  
  • To invest in water and sanitation to provide a first defence against the spread of antimicrobial resistance, to reduce the need to use antimicrobial drugs in the first place 
  • To strengthen health systems in the aftermath of the Ebola example in West Africa. A WHO survey has found some 38% of healthcare facilities in low- and middle-income countries, and 42% in Sub-Saharan Africa, do not have access to water, making effective infection control nearly impossible.

WaterAid has been calling on DFID to increase the percentage of overseas development aid spend dedicated to improving water, sanitation and hygiene each year until 2020, as it is an extremely effective use of aid. For every £1 spent, at least £4 is delivered in increased productivity.

WaterAid Chief Executive Barbara Frost said:

“WaterAid is delighted that DFID will continue to focus on water, sanitation and hygiene, as these are essential elements to eradicating poverty and to achieving the UN’s Global Goals, including delivering water and sanitation to all by 2030.

“We look forward to hearing more about DFID’s plans for health system strengthening, nutrition, education, and the empowerment of women and girls. All require investments in water, sanitation and hygiene to be most effective and sustainable.

“We are committed to working alongside DFID to ensure services are made more sustainable, and to strengthen countries’ existing systems, to ensure they serve the largest number of people for the long term.”

DFID’s aid for water, sanitation and hygiene was earlier this year determined by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact to be of good value, earning a green-amber rating, with the caution that more attention should be paid to sustainability to ensure programmes last.

DFID today also released the multi-lateral development review in which it has pledged to increase its international engagement on aid. In light of uncertainties following the referendum on Britain’s exit from the European Union, WaterAid will continue working with DFID as well as aid partners in Europe and around the world, to continue to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene programmes are made a priority. WaterAid is pleased that in the meantime, DFID is continuing to support EU funding mechanisms.

Last month, WaterAid welcomed a pledge in DFID’s Civil Society Partnership Review to double the existing UK Aid Match arrangement, and pledged to engage with DFID as they develop the new UK Aid Connect funding mechanism.


For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Carolynne Wheeler, news manager, on [email protected] or 0207 793 4485, or Fiona Callister, global media lead, on [email protected] or 0207 793 5022. Or call our after-hours press line on 07887 521 552 or email [email protected].

Notes to Editors:


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 @WaterAidUK on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at

  • Around 315,000 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s almost 900 children each day, or one child every two minutes.
  • 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.
  • Just £15 can help provide one person with access to safe water.
  • For details on how individual countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, please see our online database,