According to the World Water Development Report released by the United Nations, over 25% of the world’s population still does not have reliable access to clean drinking water. This hits close to home because my first experience volunteering abroad in Ecuador exposed me to living this way. My host mother got up early each morning to boil water for the household to drink, and it made me appreciate the life I had, and also propelled me into my public health studies after I finished my undergraduate degree.
Luckily, there are a number of organizations that are dedicated to improving access to quality, consistent, clean water for these 2.1 billion individuals, and I wanted to share five of them with you.
In the fall 2017 term, I worked for a NGO called the Cambodian Community Dream Organization (CCDO) based in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and saw firsthand how transformative access to WASH infrastructure could be for communities. The CCDO started off as a WASH organization focusing on increasing access to clean water and sanitation by building water wells and latrines, but has since expanded to provide education to children in villages outside the city, women’s health education, and social entrepreneurship opportunities (one of which was a community garden pilot program I initiated there!)
Many people recognize charity: water’s iconic bright yellow water containers, but I recognize them for their incredible work in the WASH nonprofit sector that is built on a model of 100% of proceeds going toward project support on the ground in 27 countries. I have been a fan of their work since my undergrad career and do hope to work with them in the future.
Splash is a relatively new organization I found out about, notably for their invitation to feature their work at the UN General Assembly Gallery Walk held in September 2018. They focus on increasing access to clean water for the youth, serving over 400,000 children to date, in Nepal, China, India, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Vietnam.
WaterAid is well-regarded in the WASH space, having been established since 1981 and helping over 25 million beneficiaries get access to clean water. It is an international nonprofit that some may say paved the way for other water organizations who wanted to improve WASH infrastructure in developing countries.
Last on my list but certainly not least, Water.org is a great organization that empowers people with WASH solutions through affordable financing. This is in the form of small loans, investing, conducting research and innovating, and engaging in conversations about driving change for ending this global crisis of people not having access to clean water.
These are just five examples of organizations that I truly admire for their work in the WASH space (there are SO many more notable ones to mention, but the list would go on and on!). If this post has inspired you to take action and support these organizations, I definitely encourage you to look on their pages for ways to get involved — this can be through volunteering at their local office, or donating so they can keep their operations running. Additionally, as we grow to under-appreciate our easy access to clean water, you may want to adopt some water-saving tricks at home as well.