It’s a life-changing moment when someone tastes clean water or uses a toilet for the first time. But for these moments to really transform people’s health, education and livelihoods they must happen not just once, but day after day, year after year. Similarly, good hygiene practices like handwashing are only effective when they become part of people’s everyday routine.

This takes more than choosing low cost, easy to maintain technologies, and involving and training people – although these are very important. Like in the UK, communities in the countries where we work need ongoing support – from the government and service providers – to keep their taps running and treat their waste. We help this happen by making sure the authorities have the knowledge and resources they need to manage services well and continually promote good hygiene.

Even with the best planning, unexpected events like extreme weather or a rapidly growing population can threaten this continuity. We help people prepare for and cope with these issues by giving them a better understanding of their water resources and sanitation services, and how they can manage them. When our work is done, we continue to monitor communities for ten years so we can better understand what is working well and what needs to change.

Making sure our work is sustainable is vital if we are to achieve our goal of everyone, everywhere with clean water, toilets and good hygiene by 2030.

Take an in-depth look at our work on sustainability and our approach to delivering change and transforming lives >

Find out more about the issues involved in our work:

Children | Financing | Governance | Health | Hygiene | Social exclusion | Urban | Women