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


    people have gained readily accessible safe water in their homes since 2000. 

  • 2.4


    people have gained access to improved toilets in their homes since 2000.

  • 63.7


    – the number of people UNICEF are working toward providing access to safe water in 2023

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.

Support our emergency response!

Donate to the Greatest Need

A regular donation to our rapid crisis response fund helps us be ready to act when a disaster hits, delivering life-saving supplies anywhere in the world, within 48 hours.

UNICEF greatest need donations help deliver lifesaving supplies in 48 hours
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!

The installation of water point such as these (shower and tap), supported by the European Union and implemented by ADRA,  means that school children at Kasuka community in Nawaeb District, Morobe Province no longer have to go far for their water needs.
Water from above

Supported by the European Union and implemented by UNICEF, we’ve brought safe water to over 10,000 people using gravity-fed systems to transport water from the source to the community!

Learn more

10 year old Peri-Gul inside a communal housing unit where latrines are being built in Sola Village, Tarinkot District.
“When the water truck arrives...”

Join us on the road with UNICEF as we bring water to drought-afflicted villages in Afghanistan’s Southern Region.

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Saima, 10, (right) goes to fetch water with her mother and sister (behind) near a contaminated pond in Allah Abad, Jampur, South Punjab, Pakistan.
Women and girls bear brunt of water and sanitation crisis- new report

Women and girls are responsible for fetching water in 7 out of 10 households, according to first in-depth analysis of gender inequalities in drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene in households.

Learn more