A vision within reach

WaterAid Annual Report 2015/16

Thanks to you, we're edging closer and closer to a world where everyone has access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

In 2015 we embarked on a bold new strategy to support the Global Goals for sustainable development: a new set of targets designed to end extreme poverty by 2030, including Goal 6 – to reach everyone everywhere with clean water, toilets and hygiene. And thanks to you, this year this target is within reach.

Globally, 2.6 billion people have been reached with safe water and 2.1 billion with sanitation since 1990.

The next 15 years promise to be an incredibly exciting period of progress. And you can play a critical role in transforming the lives of the world’s most marginalised people. Watch Grace's story to find out how.

Thank you for everything you've helped us achieve in 2015/16. Scroll down to follow our journey.

Photo credit: WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

We work in 38 countries

And in the last year, we reached...

Making change happen

Having access to safe water, toilets and hygiene affects so many aspects of people's lives.

They are the golden threads running through health, education, gender inequality, nutrition, urban growth and prosperity.

Our 2015-2020 strategy is about working with partners across the world to make change happen in four ways: equality, sustainability, integration and hygiene.


© WaterAid/ Basile Ouedraogo

Gender, age, caste, race, disability, poverty and location are among the many reasons why millions of poor people’s rights to safe water, sanitation and hygiene are overlooked. We helped tackle this inequality because we want to reach the people in greatest need.

Living in dignity

Having nowhere clean and private to go to the toilet affects women, girls, older and disabled people more than others, leaving them vulnerable to ridicule, abuse and even attack.

In Burkina Faso, we helped remote communities to build latrines so people can live a dignified, healthier life.

Suzanne is just one the people who benefitted:

"It is a great joy for all of us living in this compound, especially me, an older woman, tired and not able to walk, to have this new latrine."

Suzanne (above with stepdaughter and grandchild) is blind and unable to walk far. Now her family in Burkina Faso have their own private loo.

Meet the Global loo crew

It's thanks to inspiring people around the world that communities have access to safe, private toilets.

Campaigning against inequality
Your actions in support of the Everyone Everywhere campaign in 2015 helped to mobilise hundreds of UK parliamentarians to prioritise the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest people. And on World Water Day we released our brand new report about the unequal cost of water across the globe. In the UK we pay just 7p for every 50 litres of clean water compared to an extortionate £1.84 in Papua New Guinea – one of the poorest countries in the world.

Sustainable services

© WaterAid/ Habibul Haque

When water points and toilets break, or simply don’t exist, it is usually because the right systems are not in place. We helped governments and communities work together to establish and maintain services because this is the key to reaching everyone everywhere.

Creating the social contract

The sustainability and fair distribution of services relies on people understanding their rights and being able to hold their government to account, and for those institutions to respond effectively. Across all of our country programmes last year, we helped improve services by strengthening local government institutions through leadership and management training. We also motivated citizens to participate in local processes – like community meetings (shown above) where Tapoti Mandol is demanding a drainage system to be brought to her area in Bangladesh.

In Nicaragua we're training unemployed teens in plumbing – helping them avoid gang violence and create long term change in their communities.
© WaterAid/ Jordi Ruiz Cirera

In Nicaragua we're training unemployed teens in plumbing – helping them avoid gang violence and create long term change in their communities.
© WaterAid/ Jordi Ruiz Cirera

Establishing community control
It is vital that communities are fully involved in planning and maintaining local services. In Uganda last year, we helped 17 village committees to manage their boreholes and collect funds for operation and repairs. A similar initiative in Malawi has enabled communities to buy a stock of spare parts. This type of community ownership helps keep facilities running in areas where local government support may be weak.

Knowledge is part of the water committee in her village in Zambia that keeps the community borehole running.
© WaterAid/ Chileshe Chanda

Knowledge is part of the water committee in her village in Zambia that keeps the community borehole running.
© WaterAid/ Chileshe Chanda


© WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

Children’s health, women’s empowerment, education, nutrition and urban planning all rely upon safe water, sanitation and hygiene. We worked with partners in health, education, business and government to integrate these vital services into their plans.

Creating a healthy start in life

Through our Healthy Start project, we helped improve the health and nutrition of newborns and infants by integrating water and sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices into health facilities. Ensuring that hospitals like Kiomboi in Tanzania (pictured above) have clean drinking water and toilets, and that staff are practising good hygiene techniques, massively reduces fatal infections and diarrhoeal diseases during the first days and months of life.

"Having running water all the time will help us to reduce infections in children, newborns and new mums so Mungu akubariki sana! - God bless you!"

Midwife Daniel (pictured above) at Kiomboi hospital.

Midwives Juliana, in Tanzania, and One Born Every Minute's Delia, in the UK, starred in our interactive film Parallel Lives which allows you to experience the work of a midwife for yourself.


© WaterAid/ Kate Holt

Handwashing, safely storing water and food, and keeping toilets clean and functional can all massively reduce the spread of deadly diarrhoeal diseases. We worked with our partners in health and education to run hygiene programmes for millions of people, informing and inspiring them to stay safe.

Putting hygiene into the Global Goals

Our advocacy teams worked tirelessly to make sure water, sanitation and hygiene were all built into the new Global Goals from the beginning. From now on, governments have to track and report on – and therefore invest in – increasing the numbers of people using ‘safely managed sanitation services, including handwashing with soap and water’.

Making menstruation safe
Having safe hygienic toilets and washing facilities at school means girls can manage their periods effectively. It can be the difference between getting an education and dropping out altogether. In Bangladesh, we used evidence from a 2014 national hygiene survey to persuade the Ministry of Education to order all educational institutions to install separate toilets for girls with hand basins, soap and waste disposal.

Reaching families in Nepal after the earthquakes

We helped develop a groundbreaking new programme with marketing and public health experts which brings hygiene promotion sessions to baby vaccination clinics. Health workers and hygiene volunteers educate the mothers about breastfeeding, handwashing and safe preparation of food. Together, we reached 35,000 women.

A mother learns about good hygiene practise while waiting for her baby to be vaccinated. © WaterAid\/ Mani Karmacharya

A mother learns about good hygiene practise while waiting for her baby to be vaccinated.
© WaterAid/ Mani Karmacharya

Global insecurity, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and the earthquakes in Nepal have shown that, as ever, we must be flexible and responsive.

Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Many of the countries in West Africa were affected by the impact of Ebola; particularly Sierra Leone and Liberia. Our work across those two countries was redirected to support the emergency health response, and continues to help rebuild healthcare services and promote good hygiene to keep the disease at bay.

Global insecurity

Conflict, civil unrest, disease outbreaks and natural disasters pose great threats to the safety of communities, partners and staff and to our operations in general. We continued to support country programme teams to respond quickly and effectively when challenging situations arose.

Earthquakes in Nepal

The devastating earthquakes destroyed houses and facilities in many of the areas where we work, and badly affected our staff teams, some of whom lost their homes.

Let Krishna from Nepal take you on a journey through one of the villages affected with our immersive VR film, Aftershock.

Photos on this page: WaterAid/ Jo Lehmann, Ravi Mishra, and Ernest Randriarimala.

Your support is as
valuable as ever

The amazing WaterAid supporter community is now over 720,000 strong.

And your generosity inspires us year after year. From Jamie Ramsay – Britain's answer to Forrest Gump – who ran 10,500 miles from Vancouver to Buenos Aires, to little heroes like Lyla who raised £1,500 for WaterAid by asking for donations instead of presents for her fifth birthday.

Marathon man Jamie Ramsay covered 17,000 kilometres and 14  countries in his 16 month challenge for causes closest to his heart.
© Jamie Ramsay

Marathon man Jamie Ramsay covered 17,000 kilometres and 14 countries in his 16 month challenge for causes closest to his heart.
© Jamie Ramsay

You campaigned for change. Whether you got knee-deep in mud to spread the word at Glastonbury Festival or signed the petition from the comfort of your own home, you helped put pressure on the UK Government to hold its promise to reach everyone everywhere with safe water and a decent loo.

WaterAid volunteers took 78,509 signatures to the government.© WaterAid \/ Layton Thompson

WaterAid volunteers took 78,509 signatures to the government.
© WaterAid / Layton Thompson

And our celebrity ambassadors and supporters helped us make a splash about clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

Nadiya Hussain shared her childhood memories of holidays in Bangladesh and why she can't take clean water for granted.

While fitness duo the Lean Machines joined blogger Carly Rowena in Zambia to see what clean, safe water makes possible.

YouTubers The Lean Machines and Carly Rowena swapped their online lifestyles for life in rural Zambia to see our work first-hand.

The UK water industry
Since 1990, supporters who originally signed up to WaterAid via their water bill have given an incredible £158 million so far! And last year water companies across the country continued to provide huge amounts of support, with customers donating over £210,000 through their water bills and the companies, their staff and contractors giving more than £3 million.

And in our biggest appeal yet...

© WaterAid/ Anna Kari

© WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

to mums and babies
around the world.

© WaterAid/ Anna Kari

A message from Barbara and Tim

“If there was ever a year that we at WaterAid could call ‘historic’, it was 2015.”

Chief Executive, Barbara Frost

We want to say thank you to all of you who supported WaterAid over the last year. Your hard work campaigning and volunteering and your donations, are the driving force behind everything we do, from the work on the ground, to influencing change at the highest level.

With your passion and commitment putting wind in our sails we are doing all we can as part of the global effort to reach everyone everywhere with the most basic of services and the eradication of extreme poverty. Together we can and will contribute to long term sustainable change for the most excluded members of society.

Financial review

© WaterAid/ Eliza Powell

You donated generously in 2015-16, enabling us to reach millions of people with safe water, sanitation and hygiene, and to influence others to reach everyone everywhere by 2030.

Who we received funds from

How we spent your money

We're raising – and spending – more each year

Thank you

To our community of 720,000 individual supporters and to the many other groups from whom we have received such generous backing, we would like to say a huge heartfelt thank you for being part of an amazing effort in 2015–16.

We hope we can count on your commitment and generosity as we work towards the 2030 goal.

Download the full annual report including detailed financial reports >

Read more about our work in policy, practice and advocacy >

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Photo credit: WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala