New Delhi
1.28 billion

More than a billion people call India home. This vast population is spread across deserts and deltas, green valleys and rocky mountains, remote villages and mega-cities. Reaching everyone with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene is a huge challenge.

That hasn’t stopped us making real progress. In the last year, we’ve helped 374,000 people get decent toilets and 466,000 people get clean water. Since 2019, The Indian Government’s ‘Clean India’ campaign has made good progress on their mission to end open defectation. Toilets are front page news and change is happening.

But while many thrive in the world’s second fastest-growing economy, millions are being left behind.

Every day, at least 166 children under five die because of diarrhea caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. It has been particularly tough to get toilets and clean water to people living in India’s rapidly expanding unofficial housing settlements.

Together, we can make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a normal part of everyday life for everyone in India.

We give people the knowledge and confidence to demand their rights. We support the Government to integrate water, toilets and hygiene into health, nutrition and disaster strategies, building systems that last.

And we make sure services meet the specific needs of women, children and disabled people so that no one is left behind.

Where we work: India

In 2023, Gap Inc., Cargill and GSK, in partnership with WaterAid and the Water Resilience Coalition, launched the Women + Water Collaborative, an initiative to improve health, livelihoods and climate resilience in water-stressed communities in India. 

people don't have clean water.

Let's change that for the better.

people don't have a decent toilet.

This number is improving but there is still a long way to go

children under 5 die each year from diarrhea.

Caused by dirty water and poor toilets. This is preventable.

A sanitation superhero

Image: Eliza Powell
There are many changes. The biggest change is that the girls, our daughters, don’t have to go far away. When they used to go far away, people in their cars would stop and stare, and sometimes call or approach them.
Chanda, community toilet caretaker

Chanda is a caretaker for her community’s toilet block in Delhi. It’s her job to make sure the toilets are clean and working and to help her neighbours use them properly.

People in Chanda’s district used to have no decent toilets, forcing them to go outside, sometimes far from home. This put the community at risk of disease, and women and girls at risk of harassment.

“There are many changes,” Chanda told us. “The biggest change is that the girls, our daughters, don’t have to go far away. When they used to go far away, people in their cars would stop and stare, and sometimes call or approach them.”

Chanda is also part of a community group that gets together and talks to neighbours about safe sanitation and good hygiene.

She takes immense pride in her work: “I look after the public now. I like it a lot and I will continue to do this until I have my last breath.”

Across the Tracks

After Nisha narrowly escaped an attack while trying to find a private place to go to the toilet, her grandmother, Radha, decided to take action. Our film Across the Tracks follows their remarkable story of change.

Image: WaterAid/Isabelle Neill

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Read our pioneering study on the positive impact of water, toilets and hygiene in the workforce.