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Water, sanitation and hygiene

Launched in 2007, our Water of Life programme provides access to safe drinking water and sanitation to millions of people across Africa.

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The importance of water

Good health, women’s empowerment, education, nutrition, food security, housing and urban planning all rely on access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services. Water stewardship is one of the most important aspects of our environmental strategy as well as being fundamental to our business.

Our programme

Our Water of Life programme has brought clean, safe water and sanitation to 10 million people through 250 projects in 18 counties over the last 10 years.

We work with NGOs and other private sector partners to build toilet facilities, install household or school water connections, build pumps and wells and promote good practice on hygiene and sanitation. Once completed, each project is managed and maintained independently by the local community, sometimes as a small business.

By having a local access to safe water the time and effort community members, usually women and girls, spend collecting water is greatly reduced, meaning they have the opportunity to spend more time at school or find employment. Water of Life is a central part of our Water Blueprint, our global water stewardship strategy.

The objectives of our Water of life programme include:

  • Improved access to clean water
  • Improved access to sanitation
  • Promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls
  • Reducing poverty
  • Promoting better health and wellbeing.

Performance

In 2014 we commissioned an in-depth impact assessment in 58 communities in Ghana where Water of Life projects are active.

The study revealed that women and children spend up to 33% less time sourcing water, saving an estimated 13 days a year to do other things. It also showed that more women are running commercial businesses now that they can rely on the water source.

Improving lives through access to clean water in Ethiopia

See how Water of Life is helping a community just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia