Water and hygiene

Lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation is one of the leading causes of death among children in the world. Improving sanitary conditions is therefore a vital part of our mother and child health projects and our work in humanitarian emergency situations.

Key projects

Terre des hommes’ water, sanitation and hygiene projects

Water and sanitation infrastructure

The first step to protect children and their families against waterborne diseases is to ensure safely managed drinking water and sanitation services are available in communities, schools and health facilities. Terre des hommes’ projects aim to achieve generalised use of improved toilets and safe drinking water. In 73 schools in the Nowshera district of northern Pakistan, for example, 14,000 schoolchildren now drink safe water and use improved toilets. All the while guaranteeing children’s basic right to water and sanitation, the project saw a 35% increase in school enrollment with girls accounting for nearly two-thirds of the increase.

Hygiene promotion

Knowledge can certainly save lives when it comes to sanitation and hygiene. Our local teams and partners provide recommendations about proper handwashing at critical moments, household water treatment and storage, food hygiene and the safe disposal of faeces. These messages are tailored to each community’s existing practices. We also train the staff in over 150 health facilities in Mali, Mauritania, Bangladesh and Nepal in safe hygiene practices and work with health authorities to ensure minimum standards in sanitation infrastructure and waste management.

Emergency relief

In the event of natural disasters or conflict, Terre des hommes’ teams provide drinking water and hygiene supplies to affected populations, with particular focus on children. We also repair and improve the durability of water and sanitation infrastructures. For instance, following severe floods in Kashmir in autumn 2014, in addition to distributing hygiene kits, blankets and school supplies, we built new water points for more than 15,000 children and their families, which significantly reduced their time spend fetching drinking water.

Sharing expertise and collaboration

Terre des hommes is a member of the Swiss Water and Sanitation NGO Consortium financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, which runs projects to improve access to water and sanitation in ten countries in Africa and South Asia. We also have a partnership with the Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development Department (Sandec) of Eawag, the aquatic research institute of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. This collaboration brings together Sandec’s scientific research and technological solutions and Terre des hommes’ fieldwork to strengthen infection prevention and control in health facilities in developing countries.

Eco San Toilet in India

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Related publications

Thematic policy - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Thematic Policy - Mother and Child Health
Making an Impact for Children: Annual Report 2015.

Related publications