Skip to main content
The First Cup

The First Cup

The arrival of clean water signals a new dawn, and a brighter future for the whole community.

A future where women and girls no longer face the daily burden of fetching dirty water. A future where children stay healthy, happy and in school. A future where grandparents watch their grandchildren grow and thrive, knowing that a new world of opportunity is ahead of them.

We see a future where the idea of drinking dirty water doesn’t exist – even in memory.

Will you help us bring the first cup of clean water to more communities like Lucia’s, so this generation is the last to know life without it?

Watch the full film, First Cup

Watch the full film, First Cup

When you've spent most of your long life with no choice but to drink dirty water, the greatest joy of the first cup of clean water is knowing that your grandchildren – and all the generations that will follow theirs – will never know life without it.

I love my grandchildren, and being able to give them clean water to drink makes me so happy and grateful.
Norbert, 81, Madagascar
I feel like my grandchildren’s life will be better than ours. My dream is for all of them to study hard so they can get good jobs in the future.
Ama Isabel, 62, Timor-Leste

Back when Ama Isabel was raising her young family, she would have to spend hours fetching water three times a day. Even making multiple trips, she could only just collect enough to get by.

Now, with a tap right by her house, Ama Isabel has all the water – and time – she needs to cultivate a thriving vegetable garden.

She sells some to her neighbours, using the proceeds to buy books and pens for her grandchildren – and laying the foundations for four-year-old Bina to enjoy a brighter future.

When I was a kid, there was no clean water. Most of the time, we had diarrhoea and stomach-aches.

Now, things are different, and my grandchildren can drink water straight from the tap as we know it’s safe.
Madeleine (known as Mamavao), 70, Madagascar.

Mamavao doesn’t mind that her family call her a ‘hygiene maniac’ – after all, she loves keeping her home clean and tidy almost as much as she enjoys sharing a joke with her eight-year-old grandson, Rindra.

When she was his age, Mamavao was already spending hours every day collecting water, struggling with the heavy containers before and after school.

But, thanks to a tap right outside their house, Rindra’s future looks very different – and Mamavao can, finally, know peace of mind.

Ama Isabel, 62, at home with her grandaughter Bina, 4. Credit: WaterAid/Tariq Hawari
Madeleine, 70, collects water with her grandson Rindra, 8. Credit: WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala

Every year, women and girls lose the equivalent of 77 million working days* collecting water. That's time that could be better spent in school, with family, or earning a living.

Tsehaynesh used to have to walk very far to collect water from the spring. I worried about her walking so far on her own.

Now the water is so close, we have more time to relax and spend time together.
Enatayehu, 70, Ethiopia

Enatayehu’s 15-year-old graddaughter, Tsehaynesh, started collecting water for her family when she was just six. Despite setting off first thing in the morning, the two-hour round trip would make her late for school, and she struggled to catch up with the lessons she missed.

Now, with a community water point close by, Tseyanesh has the time and energy to focus on what really matters: working hard towards her ambitions of becoming a nurse, and spending quality time with her grandmother.

Tantely used to be late all the time, but now she gets to school before the teacher.
Albert, 67, Madagascar

Albert lived with dirty water for so long, he simply couldn’t imagine things ever being any other way.

She's only eight, but his granddaughter Tantely used to have to draw water every day before school.

It would take her so long that she was often late – but now, with water fountains around the village and new taps in her school, she turns up early and eager to learn.

Tsehaynesh, 15, behind her grandmother Enatayehu, 70. Credit: WaterAid/Joey Lawrence
Albert, 67, and his granddaughter Tantely, 8. Credit: WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala

Clean water creates ripples of change that will be felt long into the future – but 771 million people are still living without.

That's why we're active in 27 countries around the world, working with communities just like Lucia and her grandma's to find solutions that last. Together, we're building water systems that people can rely on. We're installing taps, fountains and water points, right where they're needed most. And we're sharing skills and know-how with communities, so they can keep the water flowing for generations to come.

*WaterAid and Vivid Economics (2021), Mission-critical: Invest in water, sanitation and hygiene for a healthy and green economic recovery