Take Action: Water

Glass of water
  • Water-related illnesses, mostly diarrhea, cause the deaths of more than 1 million children each year in the developing world. Charities aim to provide health and other benefits via improved water sources.
  • Benefits of a program depend on many factors, such as the extent of water quality improvement, the convenience of a new water source compared to pre-existing water sources, and whether a water source is maintained.

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Source: GiveWell

Globally, almost 1.9 million children die each year from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation facilities and poor hygiene each year. Treating water with chlorine has been a preferred solution as it both disinfects water and protects against recontamination.

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Source: Innovations for Poverty Action

Poor water, sanitation, and hygiene have many serious repercussions. Children—and particularly girls—can’t attend schools because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water, leaving children unattended in homes. And 3.5 million people die each year (3 million of whom are children) because of water-borne diseases.

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Source: Philanthropedia

 

Charities implement a variety of programs aimed at improving access to clean water in the developing world. Some focus on providing products that cleanwater people already have access to. Others focus on digging wells to provide access to water.

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Source: GiveWell

 

  1. Provide chlorine treatment at water sources through easy-to-use dispensers.
  2. Conduct unannounced visits to test household drinking water sources for chlorine.

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Source: Innovations for Poverty Action

Experts were asked to recommend nonprofits that could be working in direct service, advocacy, litigation, research, education, and other areas with regards to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

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Source: Philanthropedia

People without easy access to water can spend hours a day transporting it. In addition, unclean water can cause diarrhea, which results in the deaths of many children each year.

However, the bacteria that cause diarrhea can also be transmitted through hand to hand contact, by flies, or through food. It has been shown that providing clean water may not lead to a reduction in diarrhea.

In addition, wells can break down if not maintained; evidence suggests that a significant number of water improvement projects are abandoned and fall into disrepair.

Donors should look for evidence that any water project is verifying that wells remain in use over the long term, provide cleaner and more convenient water than was available before, and ultimately (ideally) lead to reductions in diarrhea rates.

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Source: GiveWell

At scale, the chlorine dispensers would cost less than $0.30 per person per year, including both hardware costs and recurring costs of chlorine refills, dispenser management, and maintenance. The dispenser is exceptionally cost effective and its most important advantage is the high level of adoption it generates.

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Source: Innovations for Poverty Action

Philanthropedia surveyed 116 experts who worked in the international water, sanitation, and hygiene field (with an average of 14 years of work experience in the field). They were asked to recommend high-impact nonprofits working in water, sanitation, and hygiene internationally. Philanthropedia’s experts (funders, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, consultants, etc.) identified 15 top nonprofits (out of 106 total reviewed nonprofits) making an impact at the international level.

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Source: Philanthropedia