people reached with clean water. 

That makes an incredible 25.8 million people since 1981.

people reached with decent toilets. 

That's 25.1 million people since 2004.

 people reached with good hygiene.

That's an estimated 18.3 million people since 2014.

From village elders to fundraisers

It took all sorts of incredible people to make change happen last year. From Bernadette teaching her son Josy about the importance of handwashing in Madagascar, to people like you in the UK who gave so generously.

Kate Holt

We work with local partners to achieve far more than we could on our own. Over the last year, we inspired new partners to help us deliver clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to some of the poorest and most remote parts of the world.

To make an even bigger impact on a national scale, we expanded the ways in which we work with governments, utility companies and researchers, too.

Running towards our goal

There’s still a lot to do, but over the last year you’ve helped bring us closer to achieving Global Goal 6 of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development: water, sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030. Thank you.

WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala
We say a huge thank you to everyone who gave so generously last year, and to those who worked and campaigned so effectively to keep water, toilets and hygiene at the top of the international agenda.
Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive and Tim Clark, Chair of Trustees

Lasting change for everyone

We want our work to be long-lasting and reach as many people as possible, which is why equality, sustainability, integration and hygiene are at the heart of everything we do. You helped us achieve so much in these areas - here are just the highlights…

WaterAid/Sibtain Haider


We continued to tackle inequality because when we say we’re committed to reaching everyone, everywhere within a generation, we mean everyone.

In Nepal, we worked with disabled people to help them get the government to build more inclusive toilets. In Uganda, we helped civil society groups have a say on government budgets for water and toilets. In Bangladesh, we helped community organisations get the government to agree to provide 200 water points in Korail, Dhaka’s biggest slum.

In the countries where we work, women are usually responsible for collecting water and family health. So it’s essential they’re involved in solving water and sanitation problems to make sure everyone gets fair access. In Burkina Faso, we supported female leaders to oversee projects, promote good hygiene and raise women’s awareness of their rights.

Disabled crisp blue

Sustainable services

Thanks to your support, we built long-lasting water points and toilets and promoted good hygiene to maximise their health benefits.

In Rwanda, we gave the government technical support and trained 50 district staff so that water and sanitation work is better planned and more sustainable. In Bugesera, we helped set up the first District Water Board that will improve water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools and healthcare centres.

Flooding and drought can wipe out fragile water points and toilets. So in areas of southern Africa gripped by drought or vulnerable to sea flooding, we worked with communities to build deeper, better protected borehole wells. In Ghana and other countries, we worked with the national government to include water and sanitation in their climate change resilience plans.

Tap nurturing pink


To make change happen more quickly in more places, we work with governments and organisations to improve health, education and nutrition – as well as access to taps and toilets.

Our global campaign, Healthy Start, continued to transform the health and nutrition of babies and children by integrating clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene into health facilities. We campaigned with midwives and influenced the UN and World Health Assembly to promote their inclusion in healthcare action plans.

Our media report, Caught short, gained attention all over the world. It highlighted how a lack of access to clean water and a decent toilet leads to stunted growth – raising the issue among health and nutrition organisations.

Community resilient green


We promoted good hygiene practices – such as handwashing with soap and safely storing water – to help millions of people dramatically reduce the spread of disease and live safer, healthier lives.

In Nepal, we trained 3,000 female community health volunteers, who in turn coached 26,000 mothers about safe breastfeeding, handwashing and food preparation.  

We continued to empower women and girls to manage their periods safely and with dignity. In Sierra Leone and Liberia, we established more menstrual hygiene sessions in schools. In Lesotho, we helped promote Menstrual Hygiene Day, which inspired the Queen Mother to say she'd provide sanitary towels in schools.

Our national hygiene campaign in Pakistan reached around 96 million people, thanks to support from government ministries and private companies.

Hygiene inspiring teal

You're amazing!

Last year, over 30,000 brilliant people like you joined our fight for clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. So there are now more than 653,000 of you doing amazing things to support our life-changing work.

You donated  in response to an ask in your water bills.

And water companies, their staff and contractors gave over £3.4 million.

of you signed our Toilets Save Lives petition.

Calling on the UK Government to keep their promise to help achieve Global Goal 6.

You donated to our campaign, Made Of The Same Stuff.

That’s enough to reach over 32,000 people with clean water.

Awesome adventurers

Last year, you did some incredible things to raise money for WaterAid.

John Whybrow and George Agate – aka The Tandem Men – cycled 18,000 miles in 290 days, raising over £13,000 to be split between WaterAid and two other charities.

Ten-year-old Ollie Buckle become the youngest person ever to scale the 140m-high ‘Old Man of Hoy’ in the Orkney Islands. His awe-inspiring climb raised a fantastic £5,000.

A huge thank you to Ollie, John and George, and all our other intrepid supporters for dedicating their adventures to our work.

The Tandem Men with their tandem
The Tandem Men

How we spent your money

For every £1 we spent, 77p went on delivering services and making change happen, and 23p went on fundraising.

WaterAid/Abir Abdullah

Last year, we spent what we planned to, but the drop in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote meant we had to change where we spent some money. To make sure our work overseas wasn’t negatively affected, we spent less in the UK and used some money we had set aside for issues like this.

For more detailed financial statements, read our full annual report.

Five Year (transparent)
Expenditure (transparent)

Responding to challenges

In such a fast-changing world, we had to find innovative solutions to all sorts of challenges. Here are some of the key issues that affected our work in 2016–17.

WaterAid/Panos/Abbie Trayler-Smith

Economic turmoil

The value of the pound and currency in Southern Africa fell last year. This made delivering projects more expensive, so we targeted resources where they’ll be most effective and changed our spending plans to make savings.

Political changes

We work with politicians around the world to bring lasting change to their countries.

When there were new government leaders in Ghana, Mali, Nepal and Niger last year, we built new relationships with them so we could continue to change water, sanitation and hygiene for the better.

In Ethiopia, protests in Oromia delayed our projects, but they’ve since got back on track.

Keeping staff safe

Thankfully, we didn’t experience any major security incidents last year, but the threat from political violence, terrorism and disease outbreaks remains high. In each country we work in, we’re preparing and training our staff to help ensure their safety.

Looking ahead to 2017-18

We’re determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. Next year we aim to reach…

people with clean water.  

people with decent toilets.

people with good hygiene.

We’ll continue to inspire people, spark chain reactions and work closely with local partners to deliver lasting change.

We’ll persuade more decision makers to improve the health and nutrition of babies and children by making sure there’s clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene at health facilities.

Together, we’re committed to making more great progress in the year ahead in changing people’s lives for good.
Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive and Tim Clark, Chair of Trustees