Comprehensive solutions to end the global water crisis and ensure every family, clinic, and school has lasting access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services for generations to come

Countries Served
Guatemala, Honduras,
Nicaragua, Uganda,
Bolivia, Peru, India,
Rwanda, Malawi

Headquarters
100 E Tennessee Ave
Denver, CO 80209

Budget
$20,200,000

Problem


Nearly 1/3 of people worldwide drink water that is contaminated, and more than 1/2 use a sanitation system that does not adequately protect either their family or the downstream community from harm.

Studies show that over 1/5 of all child deaths could be prevented with proper water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.

Adequate WASH is essential not only to reduce the large burden of diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, and malnutrition, but also for the control and elimination of many neglected tropical diseases, which affect over 1 billion people in 149 tropical and subtropical countries.

A 2018 study of 130,000 health clinics in low- and middle-income countries showed 50% of the clinics don’t have piped water, and 39% don’t even have soap.

Programs Offered


EVERYONE FOREVER:

Over the past 30 years, Water for People (WFP) has been dedicated to providing access to reliable, safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. Taking an infrastructure approach, WFP partners with local leaders and communities to implement the solutions that are right for them, and then provides the tools to make sure these systems last for the long term, independent of philanthropic aid. WFP spends years, not days, in communities, working until every household, school, and clinic is served. That means every single person—-even the most vulnerable, marginalized, and hardest-to-reach-—has access to sustainable WASH services. Water for People calls this model “Everyone Forever.”

WATER:

When invited into an area, WFP works at the district level because district governments are responsible for providing and managing water services. Together with communities and local leaders, they assess existing resources and agree on a service area, a water source and how to protect it, and what the cost of service will be. WFP never fully funds its water projects. Instead, they require local governments and communities to co‐finance each system, introducing full project ownership early in the process.

Next, they build wells, place pipes, and install taps. The types of wells are gravity fed wells, boreholes between 40-60 meters, and deeper boreholes at 100 meters, plus rainwater harvesting as a supplementary source. To ensure the services are sustainable, WFP and leaders establish a district office to oversee the water system. WFP then prepares community members to staff the office and trains local mechanics to monitor, repair, and manage the water system. Additionally, WFP constructs facilities to test and treat water and creates supply chains so parts for repairs are available locally. 

WFP monitors projects annually until everyone in a district has sustainable water services. Once achieved, WFP provides oversight to district governments for another 3-5 years to ensure quality is maintained. When a district has sustained water services without direct support, and can manage the water system for the long-term, WFP exits and shifts their investment to new areas.

SANITATION:

Without bathrooms, families lack dignity and risk getting sick from waterborne diseases. However, if people are not investing their own resources or choosing their own toilets, they are less likely to use them. WFP educates communities about the dangers of open defecation and makes sure families have affordable toilet options, access to skilled contractors to build bathrooms, and safe ways to manage waste. In most areas, WFP trains locals to empty the latrines for a fee, creating sustainable small businesses to provide the full sanitation chain: collection, pit emptying, and disposal at a wastewater treatment plant. 

HYGIENE:

Water and sanitation infrastructure alone cannot improve community health if people do not understand the importance of using it. Every WFP intervention includes education about healthy hygiene habits and handwashing. In some cases, WFP utilizes social art such as street plays and murals to reinforce the practices it is teaching. In schools, WFP builds handwashing stations and creates hygiene committees that teach students about proper practices. 

Hygiene programs are especially helpful for girls, who often drop out of school when they get their periods. WFP ensures schools have the resources necessary for girls to continue their education, including training, private changing rooms, pads, and incinerators to dispose of used hygiene products.

Historical Results


Since 2011, Water For People has brought reliable water services to 3.6 million people and achieved the following impacts:

  • 3,913 community interventions
  • 1,583 school interventions
  • 164 health clinic interventions
  • 1.3 million people with sanitation services
  • 2,436 jobs created

In the first quarter of 2020, WFP reached 55,450 people  at:

  • 153 new schools
  • 14 new health clinics

Sample Use Of Funds


  • $11,000 supports comprehensive water and sanitation services for nearly 150 students and teachers in a Guatemalan school. Work includes not only handwashing stations and toilet blocks, but health and hygiene education.
  • $35,000 supports the construction and/or rehabilitation of a community water system that will reach approximately 400 people in the district of Arani, Bolivia. Work includes system-strengthening through local government and community leaders.
  • $50,000 supports comprehensive water and sanitation services for nearly 750 students and teachers in a Malawi school. Work includes not only handwashing stations and toilet blocks, but health and hygiene education.
  • $85,000 supports the construction of a community water system that will reach approximately 900 people—in up to two communities—in the district of Chinda, Honduras. Work includes system-strengthening through local government and community leaders.

Path to Credibility


For nearly 30 years, WFP has brought clean water and sanitation solutions to the developing world and is recognized and respected as a leader in the WASH sector.

WFP was a Skoll Awardee in 2011 and has several other funders that Focusing Philanthropy has worked with closely over the years.

As part of its diligence and monitoring, Focusing Philanthropy visited WFP in West Bengal, India in 2018 and in the Shire Highlands, Malawi in 2020. These visits included substantial interaction with WFP staff, local community leaders, government officials, individuals trained to maintain and repair the WASH system, and others. The trips were a strong validation of WFP’s emphasis on local commitment and facility sustainability.

More Program Partners


Giving a voice to children alone in the foster care system.

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Empowering homeless and disadvantaged individuals to achieve self-sufficiency.

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Improving health, education, and opportunity through clean and safe drinking water.

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Empowering young people with the knowledge, skills, and resources to make healthy decisions.

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Providing one-on-one literacy tutoring to struggling readers in elementary school.

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Providing lasting solutions for the world’s most vulnerable refugees.

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Preparing young women with limited resources to be the first in their families to attend college.

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Transforming lives through sight-restoring surgery.

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Combating gender inequality and extreme poverty in urban slums.

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Increasing high school graduation rates of at-risk middle school students.

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Expanding access to consistent, quality healthcare to patients in underserved 
communities.

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Helping hard-working subsistence farm families gain food security and economic opportunity.

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