221 million

Pakistan, the fifth most populous country in the world, has made impressive progress in improving access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene – but not everyone is feeling the benefit.

Clean water and decent toilets are normal for wealthier people. But for many people living in poverty, especially in rural areas, drinking dirty water and going to the toilet in the open are the only options.

Pakistan is urbanising more rapidly than any other South Asian country: by 2030, it’s predicted that half the population – over 100 million people – will live in towns and cities. Poorly maintained water and sanitation systems already can’t cope; many informal settlements lack them entirely.

And, as extreme weather like floods, droughts and heatwaves become more common, it’s the most vulnerable people who are hit the hardest.

people don't have clean water.

That's 1 in 10 people.

people don't have a decent toilet.

That's 1 in every 3 people.

children under 5 die each year from diarrhoea.

Caused by dirty water and poor toilets.

Our work in Pakistan

We’ve been active in Pakistan since 2006, collaborating with local partners to develop long-lasting, disaster-proof and affordable solutions that others can then scale up.

We work with community groups to demonstrate the links between hygiene and health, collaborating with schools and the media to spread these messages as widely as possible.

We support people – especially those who are often overlooked by others – to raise their voices and demand their rights to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. And we work with the government and service providers to deliver them.

Tackling shame in schools

Cultural and religious taboos can shroud menstruation in stigma and misinformation – but school clubs provide girls with the knowledge and confidence they need to thrive, every day of the month.

WaterAid/ Sibtain Haider

Without knowledge of how to safely manage their periods, or access to sanitary materials and decent toilets to change them in, girls struggle to stay clean and healthy. Many would rather stay home than go to school – missing days of essential education every month.

We work with schools to build female-friendly toilets, ensure sanitary supplies are available, and equip girls with vital knowledge of how to manage periods safely. School clubs bust dangerous myths and give girls the confidence to come to class, no matter what time of the month.

Meet Iqra, Saba and Ramsha, active members of their school WASH club, and menstruation myth-busters:

Transforming water quality

Much of the groundwater across the Muzaffargarh district, southern Punjab, contains high levels of contaminants, making it bitter-tasting and unfit for drinking.

We’re working with communities here to build water filtration systems, improving water quality and piping it to tapstands near people’s homes.

Importantly, the new systems are accessible for everyone – like shopkeeper and father of three Muhammad Asif, who's lived with polio since childhood, making fetching water from far away an impossible task.

The contaminated water resulted in different diseases... Now, I have the water filtration plant close to my home and can go any time to collect water. I feel so happy and independent that I can collect water on my own, which was once a dream for me.
Muhammad Asif, 35

“We sit and chat and do more embroidery. I have big dreams.”

Shama, 19, used to spend hours a day fetching dirty water, leaving little time for anything else. But with five new water pumps in her village, installed by our local partner, she’s able to focus on what really matters: her family, her livelihood, and her future.

WaterAid/ Sibtain Haider

Responding to COVID-19

We’ve joined forces with other charities, the UN, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as part of the Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC): a taskforce dedicated to reducing the spread of COVID-19 through improved hygiene, funded by UK Aid and supported by Unilever.

A contactless handwashing station in Hyderabad
As part of our response, we worked with our partner the NRSP (National Rural Support Programme) to install contactless handwashing stations across Sindh province.

The latest on our work in Pakistan

Browse articles, research and expert opinion from WASH Matters.

Ready to make a difference? Just £2 a month can help us reach more people in Pakistan with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

Get involved, your way

Join an event, spread the word about our work, fundraise with friends – or find your own way to transform lives.

Delve deeper into our work

Explore the latest publications, research and policy papers from our work in Pakistan.

Keep up to date

Follow WaterAid Pakistan on social media.