Water is one of the basic necessities of life. Safe water is especially critical for children, who are the most vulnerable to water-related diseases. Life support initiative works in impoverished areas to provide potable water and adequate sanitation to decrease illnesses, improve health, and lessen the burden on women and children by reducing the distance to water collection points. In addition, sufficient water increases crop production and thus the ability of parents to adequately provide for their children with better nutrition and income from the sale of produce.

Life support initiative water and sanitation programs help communities obtain adequate supplies of safe water and sanitation facilities by drilling new borehole wells, repairing existing wells, developing spring and rainwater catchments, providing water storage, building community filtration systems, and constructing household latrines, refuse dumps, and surface water drainage systems.

These initiatives become sustainable as community members are trainedto repair and maintain pumps and water sources, and serve on water and sanitation committees that oversee community improvements. World Vision also initiates hygiene education for children and adults, including proper hand and face washing toprevent disease.

Over the past 2 years, Life support initiative has helped provide clean water and improved sanitation to more than 1200 people. In fiscal year 2009 (October 2008 to September 2009), individuals, corporations, and foundations in the United States supported World Vision water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects in 20 countries. These interventions are playing a vital part in helping to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goal to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.” This report provides recent details of World Vision’s WASH work around the world.

The overall goal of life support initiative water and sanitation projects is to improve the health and socioeconomic well-being of communities by reducing the incidence of water-and sanitation-related diseases through sustainable safe water, sanitation, and hygiene practices. Projects achieve this goal through four objectives:

  • Increase access to sustainable, safe water and environmental sanitation for poor and vulnerable communities
  • Reduce the prevalence of WASH-related diseases, including trachoma, Guinea worm, and diarrheal diseases, through the promotion of personal hygiene and environmental practices
  • Increase sustainability by promoting integrated water resources management at the local level, with a focus on maintaining the quantity and quality of drinking water
  • Foster a new model of partnership and institutional synergy to ensure technical excellence, programmatic innovation, and long-term financial, social, and environmental sustainability in water management that can be replicated elsewhere Communities that are most vulnerable and have the least access to water and sanitation are chosen to receive WASH interventions. World Vision also works with community leaders to ascertain that residents are committed to helping to construct and maintain WASH facilities.