What is WASH?

Clean water, safe sanitation, and hygiene education are basic necessities for a healthy environment and a productive life. WASH is an acronym that refers to the global development issues of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Due to their interdependent nature, these three core issues are grouped together to represent a growing sector. While each a separate field of work, they are also interdependent on the presence of the other and represent a current global crisis.


The Global WASH Crisis

Water: 663 million people do not use an improved drinking water source, most of whom are poor and live in rural areas.

Sanitation: 2.4 billion people still lack an improved sanitation facility, and among them almost 950 million people still practise open defecation.

Hygiene: Of the range of hygiene behaviours considered important for health, hand washing with soap is a top priority in all settings.

At least 3000 children die every day from diarrheal diseases – an avoidable consequence of poor water, sanitation and hygiene.


Rotary’s WASH Focus

The lack of access to clean water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene resources is one of the world’s biggest health problems — and one of the hardest to solve.

Through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs, Rotary’s people of action mobilize resources, form partnerships, and invest in infrastructure and training that yield long-term change. Over the past several years, Rotary has shifted its focus to also emphasize education, collaboration, and sustainability in WASH


With Rotary Foundation global grants, a dedicated Rotarian Action Group, and a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Rotary’s water, sanitation, and hygiene, or WASH, programs are achieving greater, longer-lasting change.

When people have access to clean water and safe sanitation, waterborne diseases decrease, children stay healthier and attend school more regularly, and mothers can spend less time carrying water and more time helping their families.