We have so many wonderful stories to share. From individuals, through small communities, towns and cities, to entire countries taking leaps forward. The world is making progress on getting clean water, decent toilets and hygiene to everyone, everywhere.

With clean water everything has changed. Instead of collecting water, I can go to my field, wash clothes and cook food for my children. In the water committee my role is to spread knowledge, about how to use the latrine, how to take care of water, how to manage the water pump. Now our children go to school every day, they don't get sick. They go to school clean and healthy.
Florinda, Mozambique. Credit: WaterAid/Eliza Powell
Water droplet

Clean water

in households

in schools

in healthcare centres

Toilet icon

Decent toilets

in households

in schools

in healthcare centres

Hygiene icon

Good hygiene

in households

in schools

in healthcare centres

We are showing that progress is possible. But change is happening much too slowly. At our current pace, the world will miss the target of reaching everyone, everywhere by 77 years. This is a crisis. 

We know what is needed to end it. To make the biggest contribution we can, we use our expertise to reach many more people than we could do alone. We convince governments to change laws and policies, strengthen service providers so they can better supply water and sanitation, change attitudes and behaviours, pool knowledge and resources, and rally support from people and organisations around the world.

We are working hard to increase global attention and action, to speed up progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 6 – water, sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030.

This year, our supporters and partners helped us to:

Influence .


Strengthen management in .

Ensuring equality so that everyone benefits

Clean water and decent toilets are human rights, which everyone should be able to claim equally. But people face discrimination for many reasons, including gender, age, religion or status, which holds them back. We are determined to reach everyone, whoever they are.

Image: Rhoda Chikanda speaking on behalf of her community at a Joint Parliamentarian Committee meeting with the people of Kapyanga, Malawi. WaterAid/Dennis Lupenga.

We're learning why people face discrimination and working to dissolve it, so everyone can enjoy their rights, forever. Holding governments responsible for addressing discrimination, and empowering people to claim their rights, changes attitudes, policies and laws so that clean water and decent toilets will be normal for everyone. And when people like Rhoda – pictured above representing her community to politicians in Malawi – are able to speak out and be heard, they are more likely to get what they need.

In the town of Debre Tabor, Ethiopia, we made sure 410 more households now have water, and at cheaper rates that only wealthier residents had before. We connected service providers with the town’s customer forum, who supported poor households to fund shared taps. 

With Plan International and UNICEF we created guidance to help policy-makers design, fund and build services for communities in the world's most remote areas.

And over three and a half years we made it easier for more than 59,500 girls in 196 schools in Nepal and Pakistan to stay and succeed in education. We made sure they had the facilities and knowledge they need to manage their periods in school, so they are less likely to miss out on learning.


Case study: Women's business in Mali

Making services sustainable, so we change lives for good

To make a lasting difference, clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene have to remain a normal part of daily life long after being introduced. This takes the right skills and finance, strong utilities and supporting systems and effective behaviour change approaches.

Image: Muluken Wondirad, Debre Tabor Water Utility Manager, assessing the water pipe network map, Debre Tabor, Amhara. WaterAid/Behailu Shiferaw.

We don’t simply build facilities and hand them to communities without making sure they can be maintained. By strengthening every part of the systems that support the facilities, we make sure people feel the benefits long after we have gone.

This year, our Twenty Towns project with Yorkshire Water continued linking their experts with service providers in 20 Ethiopian towns. The team shared valuable skills with staff, like Water Utility Manager Muluken Wondirad pictured above, including how to manage leaks, test water and bill customers. 

The co-compost plant we built in Sakhipur, Bangladesh, in 2015 turned 990 tons of toilet waste into 22 tons of compost in the past year. The Government has shown interest in the plant as a solution to managing sewage.

And we started a three-year programme to build sustainable services in Pakistan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Cambodia, funded by the H&M Foundation. We began analysing services and costs so that governments can plan investments that will make sure services last.


Case study: The ripple effect in Madagascar

Effective integration, so progress goes further

The challenges people face can't be separated into isolated issues – so neither can the solutions. And without the essential foundation of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, people can’t enjoy other human rights. 

Image: Fiona, 15, demonstrates the correct handwashing technique to other students at their school in Namalu, Karamoja Region, Uganda. WaterAid/Eliza Powell.

We work to improve integration between work in sectors such as health, nutrition and education to make a bigger difference. To encourage leaders to act faster, we are sharing evidence from our work and beyond, showing that integrating plans is effective. 

Last year our advocacy led to a global plan to reduce cholera deaths by 90% by 2030. The plan will integrate policies and coordinate prevention work across countries, organisations and sectors.

We also helped ensure Bangladesh's health plans will enable girls and women to manage their periods in schools. And we produced guidelines to show schools around the world how to build water points, toilets and hygiene facilities that everyone can use, whatever their gender or ability. Our hygiene clubs mean students like those at St Mary's in Uganda, above, make the most of the improvements.

To help us share our expertise and improve progress across the world, we launched WASH Matters, our online hub for practical detail and analysis from our water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) experts and collaborators.


Case study: Deliver Life in Malawi

Improving hygiene, so everyone can be healthier

This isn’t just about handwashing. With clean homes, food and hospitals too people can feel the full benefits of clean water and decent toilets. Keeping clean takes more than good facilities – hygienic behaviours are essential. Changing habits is a big challenge.

Image: Theresa Aremu, 60, washes her face with clean water and soap to keep away flies that spread trachoma. Ariamaoi village, Nakapiripirit, Uganda.

Our experience – and growing evidence – shows what people need for good hygiene habits to become normal. Instead of giving one-off lessons, we improve facilities, run evidence-based hygiene promotion and change policies to include hygiene in health, nutrition and education. We give communities a full package, so that people like Theresa in Karamoja, Uganda, above, have both the hygienic environment and habits they need to stay healthy.

This year we worked with local artists in Malian communities to bring hygiene messages to life for nearly 11,000 people.

We helped develop a national plan for Nigeria to ensure school sanitation facilities enable girls to stay in school during their periods.

And we worked with a network of young girls across Bangladesh to get open and honest conversations about menstrual health broadcast in a TV programme.


Case study: 26 times more hygiene in Nepal

Meet some of the mothers and babies enjoying better health in our short film > 

Or learn more about immunisation and hygiene in this blog >

Together we have achieved so much

It's not all about money – our partners and supporters give us so much more. Their time, influence and sweat make a huge difference!

If you are one of our wonderful supporters – thank you! You make all of this possible. And if not, here's a taste of what you could do to help us transform even more lives.

We hope you are proud of all we are achieving together. The commitment and determination shown by our individual supporters, the UK water industry, and our partner institutions and companies, are both humbling and inspiring. We simply couldn’t do it without you. Thank you.
Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive, and Tim Clark, Chair of Trustees
Image: WaterAid volunteer Alice at Glastonbury 2017. WaterAid/Laura Summerton.

Joining The Water Fight

Our campaign took centre stage at Glastonbury 2017. We raised £640,000 from festival-goers, and more than 35,000 signed our petition to make clean water and decent toilets normal in every school, taking the total number of signatures to 63,259. 

Emily, one of our supporters.
Image: Emily, one of our supporters, at the end of her big swim.

Making a gigantic splash

Bettina Collingwood raised £1,055 with a sponsored 5km walk on her 95th birthday, and six-year-old Emily (above) swam a mile, raising an incredible £1,265! Last year, people fundraising in their communities collected £639,000.

Image: Tahina and Kanto show Simon and Clemmie the toilet block. WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala.

Telling everyone about us

With toiletries brand Soaper Duper we took social media stars Mother of Daughters and Father of Daughters to Madagascar to see our work. They helped us reach over a million people with their stories, and now passionately support what we do.

Image: Anglian Water staff monitoring groundwater in Nepal. WaterAid/Mani Karmacharya.

Taking partnership to the next level

Our water industry partners went further than ever to improve water and toilets. As well as raising money, they began sharing their skills with water sectors in Nepal, Malawi, Ethiopia and Mozambique to help improve services.

We took you to Tombohuaun, Sierra Leone

Our biggest ever appeal, Untapped, raised enough money to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for 250,000 people, including Sellu and his daughters Nancy and Ramatu, shown here.


Our winter campaign told the story of Tombohuaun, a small village deep in the jungle in Sierra Leone. We brought the community and supporters together, connecting them through photo diaries and a name generator as the villagers looked forward to having clean water for the first time.

The £8.2 million total we raised together could transform the lives of 250,000 people in Tombohuaun and other communities just like it. Thanks to our supporters' incredible generosity, their future has been rewritten.

How did we spend our money?

We worked hard to make our money go far. Most of our funding this year came from our fantastic UK supporters. Their vital involvement keeps us transforming the lives of people like Bilal in Pakistan, despite economic uncertainty.


Despite a challenging year for charities, we raised 3% more than in 2016–17 and our income remained diverse. By managing fluctuations in the pound and rebuilding our reserves, we made sure we are financially resilient.
We spent less than we had planned to, mostly because we did not raise as much from institutions as hoped. We have changed our approach so that we raise much more of this support in future, so we can expand our work.


World map highlighting countries where WaterAid works
Where we work
A chart showing our expenditure for 2017 to 2018.


The breakdown of how we spend our money.

In a fast-changing world, we respond to challenges together

Fixing from the ground up: Joyce (right) demonstrating how she maintains the borehole in Vimphere Village, Malawi.

Image: Joyce Kachingwe demonstrating how she fixes the borehole in Vimphere Village, Malawi. WaterAid/Dennis Lupenga.

In Nepal and Bangladesh, severe floods damaged water sources,
sanitation infrastructure, roads and healthcare centres.

We provided emergency hygiene kits, clean water and washing facilities, and repaired damaged wells and toilets.

Living in refugee camps, displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar in Bangladesh were at risk from deadly waterborne diseases.

To prevent these spreading we installed wells, built latrines and human waste management plants and ran hygiene promotion sessions.

Plague broke out in 
Madagascar and cholera in Zambia, both highly contagious – and potentially fatal
– diseases.

Our teams diverted resources to promote good hygiene behaviour in health centres, schools and communities, to help control the spread.

Let's do even better

We’re aiming higher than ever. We will keep reaching people directly, grow our healthcare work and scale up programmes in key countries. And we’ll influence change, so even more people benefit. Not only where we work, but globally too. How will you help?

Explore our global strategy

How we work

Learn how we change lives through our key aims

Be part of it

Together we make a bigger difference to more people

Our full report

Download a PDF of our annual report and financial statements

A few questions answered:

The numbers for households and schools are the people who use these services every day. The numbers for healthcare facilities are the population each facility exists to serve, adjusted to reflect the scale of alternative/private provision. 

This total is the number of people reached either through water, sanitation and hygiene facilities or sustained promotion of good hygiene. Hygiene promotion numbers are estimates of people reached with hygiene promotion messages at least three times in a year through local marketing campaigns in communities, in schools and via local health services. 

No. WaterAid India is now an independent organisation, so we haven't counted the number of people reached in India here.

Download the PDF here.