Together we can unlock people’s potential with clean water, reliable toilets and good hygiene.

About us

We are the #1 international non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to clean water, sanitation and hygiene. We started in 1981, with the purpose of helping people break free from poverty and change their lives for good by tackling these three essentials: clean water, reliable toilets and good hygiene.

We have programs in 22 countries and we have reached more than 29 million people around the world with clean water and more than 29 million more with reliable toilets.

WaterAid launched its program in Colombia in early 2016 after joining forces with Aguayuda Inc., a small but committed  organization with ten years of experience in the region. Our central office is located in Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira, since a large part of our is focused in that department. 

Current Projects

Intervention Area

La Guajira is a desertic peninsula in the northern tip of Colombia. According to a 2013 United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report, 30% of the population of La Guajira lives below the poverty line, of which 26% live in extreme poverty with less than $1 per day.

La Guajira is home to the Wayúu indigenous people, who make up approximately 20% of the indigenous population in Colombia. The Wayúu live in dispersed and marginalized rural communities, with very limited access to services.

It is estimated that 28% of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition and approximately one indigenous child under the age of 5 has died from causes related to malnutrition every week during the last 2 years.

Did you see the article in The New York Times about the desperate plight of the Wayuu people of Northern Colombia and Venezuela?

New York Times article screenshot

In this moment of crisis, we need to do more.

Lives are at stake. We need your help. Please consider a small gift of $25 to support our critical work with the Wayuu community.

What do we do?

Our work in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) focuses on women, girls and rural indigenous communities. To work with these rural populations we have three key approaches.

Image: WaterAid/ Keoma Zec

WASH in schools and childcare centers

We work in schools and childcare centers to bring access to clean water, reliable toilets and hygiene education, so that children can continue to enjoy their childhood while having reliable and safe conditions to study in.  To promote healthy hygiene habits, we have developed games, dynamics and pedagogical materials to generate learning and behavioral changes in a fun way that is also adapted to the context of the communities we work with.

WASH in indigenous, rural and peri-urban communities

We work to ensure that everyone we work with, in the communities excluded from  services and infrastructure, has sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene. We do this by working together with communities to find efficient and sustainable solutions, using technologies appropriate to the environmental and sociocultural context.

Building alliances for sector strengthening

We work with lots of different people and groups to make water, sanitation, and hygiene better in underserved Colombian communities. This includes local and regional governments, national agencies, non-profits, universities, research hubs, and businesses. Together, we're all about boosting local growth that lasts, unlocking the community's potential.

There is still work to do!

Many people in La Guajira and other parts of Colombia are still excluded from sustainable access to clean water and reliable toilets.

Image: WaterAid/Jordi Ruiz Cirera

How can you get involved?

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Let's work together!

The strengthening of alliances and multi-sectoral networks are essential in achieving universal access to WASH and its sustainability over time. For WaterAid, multi-sectoral coordination at the local, departmental and national levels is a priority.

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Donate to directly support our program in Colombia

To bring access to clean water and reliable toilets in marginalized communities and to build local capacity to ensure sustainability and resiliency when facing climate change impacts.

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Share WaterAid Colombia’s mission with colleagues, friends and family!

Our annual reports 

Read our annual reports and meet the people changing their lives with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.