16 million

Things are changing in Zambia. After over 50 years of independence, today it has one of the world's fastest growing, if still relatively small, economies.

People's life expectancy, education level and income are improving. And with more than half of the country under 25 years old, there's a lot of energy and optimism for the future.

However, this progress has not been shared equally among Zambians. A huge proportion of people – six in ten – still live below the poverty line, and the gap between rich and poor is widening.

One in ten people are affected by HIV/AIDS and even more are disabled. They are particularly at risk from the lack of clean water and decent, accessible toilets across the country.

And while these essential services should be a normal part of everyday life, people also need to be aware of their rights and have the knowledge and confidence to call for them where they are missing.

people don't have clean water.

That's one in every three people.

people don't have a decent toilet.

More than half the entire population of Zambia.

children under 5 die a year.

Caused by dirty water and poor toilets.

For this reason, a large part of our work in Zambia is on citizen action, improving the connections between people and their local governments.

We help the Government respond to these voices with low-cost solutions that will also last into the future. We can then reproduce these small-scale systems elsewhere, scaling them up where possible.

By working together in this way, we can reach everyone in Zambia with the clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene they deserve.

The Pupil Pipeline

Image: WaterAid/Chileshe Chanda
If am thirsty, I will simply walk and drink from the tap and quickly get back to class!
Mumbi, Grade 8, Simango School

No child should ever have to drink water from the same place as wild animals. But until recently, this is what 800 pupils at Simango School in Zambia had to do. 

For more than 40 years, pupils at the school got water from scoop holes on the dry and sandy riverbed of a nearby stream – a popular watering hole for local animals.

Thanks to the amazing schools who raised funds for our Pupil Pipeline project, together we have built a network of piped water points and a toilet block for the whole of Simango School. 

Abigail, in Grade 9, explains the effect the new water system will have: "We will no longer suffer stomach pains. I am very happy." 

Floridah, 14, says: "Now we have water, we will keep our classrooms and surroundings clean." 

“Thank you for this water,” says Xavier Mwiinga, the Headteacher. "We will always remember your gesture of good will.”

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

At her school in Lubunda, Claudia is a keen member of a club which helps teach younger girls how to deal with their periods safely. She's also an incredible singer – check out her version of a classic pop song for proof!

Claudia photographed in her school in Lubunda, Zambia, after filming a version of the song Sunshine on a Rainy Day.
Image: WaterAid/Brian Riley

Ready to make a difference? Just $5 a month can help change someone's life.

Get involved, your way

Join an event, fundraise with friends or find your own way to transform lives.

Give an unforgettable gift

We've got the perfect gift for every occasion. Gift a Gift of Water.