A young boy washing his face with clean water from a tap

Water & Sanitation

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Safe water, toilets and good hygiene so kids stay happy, healthy and ready to take on the world! 

WATER is the basis of life! And something all children have a right to.

We run developmental programmes in over 100 countries that provide kids with sustainable access to safe water, toilets and hand-washing facilities. And because we're already on the ground we're able to respond to their immediate water and sanitation needs when conflict or disaster strikes.

  • 2.1


    people have gained access to readily available and safe water at home since 2000.

  • 35.9


    people gained access to readily available and safe water at home in 2023.

  • 2.2


    people still lack access to safely managed water services.

Solar Innovation

Innovative thinking is essential in creating longterm change for kids and making sure your donations are going the distance.

2.2 billion people currently lack access to safe drinking water - we're working on changing that number to zero by 2030. Every child and their family have the right to clean, safe water.

Building climate-resilient and locally maintained solar powered water systems around the world is just one of the ways we're pushing this goal forward.

In the climate-prone Garissa County, Kenya, continuous access to water means thriving crops and livestock, functioning health facilities and schools, and healthy kids amidst an ongoing drought!

young boys filling glasses of water thanks to water system providing access to safe drinking water
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10 year old Shamim smiling thanks to UNICEF climate-smart water innovation

Empowering girls with water!

Climate-smart water innovation is also helping us tackle the shortage of safe sanitation that half the global population experience! That's the power of water for girls like 10-year-old Shamim.

With access to water, washrooms and drainable toilets, she won't be forced to stay home again or need to walk long distances just to collect clean water.

Not all innovations need to be as big as solar. With safe running water the girls of Shamim's school can easily clean their washable sanitary pads.

Sometimes even the simplest of ideas can empower children! 

Water in emergencies

During conflict and disaster, water facilities are often damaged or destroyed and water sources contaminated. That's where the support of amazing UNICEF donors comes in.

No matter the obstacles, donor support helps us respond to the immediate needs of over 300 emergencies every year with safe water and sanitation while also strengthening and building resilient systems and services so kids and their families are better prepared for the future. 

UNICEF water access in emergencies - families pushing young kids in strollers and children walking
children filling water tanks from clean drinking water taps

The war in Ukraine left millions of families in Mykolaiv without safe drinking water as a result of damaged water pipes. To ensure a protected and stable source of safe drinking water while these networks were repaired, UNICEF and partners set up a treatment plant to treat water from wells.

Now these communities are far less prone to preventable water-borne disease – one less thing to worry about amidst the ongoing fighting.

Since February 2022 more than 3.5 million people have been provided with access to safe drinking water in Ukraine.

kids using UNICEF easy to construct group hand-washing station

Simple & effective hygiene for every child

3 billion people worldwide, including hundreds of millions of school kids, do not have access to safe hand-washing facilities with soap. But maybe the solution to such a big issue is something simple?

UNICEF's easy to construct and use group hand-washing stations is open-sourced so anyone can use, modify and share it – now kids all around the world can benefit from our design.

With COVID-19 shining a spotlight on the importance of hand hygiene, resourceful innovations like this can go a long way in helping us reduce the spread of disease and keep kids healthy!

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Hear more stories about our Water & Sanitation work around the world!

We’re committed to transparency. To see how we split up expenses and manage our costs, read our annual report or visit UNICEF Open to see a live overview of all our projects.

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UNICEF Aotearoa is a registered charity with the New Zealand Charities Commission (CC35979), making you eligible for a tax refund of up to a third of your donation. All transactions are billed in New Zealand dollars.

UNICEF Aotearoa operates from Level 5, 86 Victoria Street, Wellington 6011, New Zealand.