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Press Release: 15 Top International Working in Water, Sanitation & Hygiene by 116 Experts

January 4th, 2012 by dawn Leave a reply »

“Almost half of the developing world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources.” –UNICEF

Like clean air, most of us living in developed countries take the availability of clean water for granted. However, almost half of the developing world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. (Source: UNICEF) 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 (three million of whom are children) because of water-borne diseases. (Source: World Water Relief)

Over the past two months, Philanthropedia surveyed 116 experts working in water, sanitation, and hygiene (with an average of 14 years of work experience in the field) to identify those organizations that were making the biggest positive impact in the field.

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. Below is a graphical representation of who participated in our research. You can also see who our experts were by clicking here.

We asked experts to recommend nonprofits that work in the field of water, sanitation, and hygiene, in particular to recommend up to three nonprofits doing high-impact work across multiple countries/regions, and up to three nonprofits doing high-impact work in a specific country/region. These experts were asked to consider a range of nonprofits including those providing direct service, advocacy, litigation, research, education, and other areas.

The following is the list of the top-recommended high-impact nonprofits working in water, sanitation, and hygiene at the international level. “Agree” is the number of experts who agree that the nonprofit has had the most impact in the field. “Disagree” is the number of experts who disagree that the nonprofit has had the most impact in the field.


We invite you to visit the profiles of each of these top organizations on our website to read the expert reviews here. Experts commented on the impact each nonprofit has had, what the nonprofit’s other organizational strengths are, and how each organization could further improve.

This week we will highlight the top 8 high-impact international nonprofits working in water, sanitation, and hygiene through our blog and Twitter.

We also invite your feedback. Please tell us what you think and what experiences you’ve had with these great organizations! You can reach Jasmine Marrow, Manager of Philanthropedia Research at



  1. washlink says:

    While veryinteresting, I fear it is an oversimplification of a very complex set of issues that are trying to be addressed. These are all worthy orgs that are listed. I like to know: What are the best practices of the top orgs and how do we share them…. You have a great set of experts but I dont see measurable performance numbers that would be important for comparisons …like how may wells are still in operation after x years. What is the overhead …etc

  2. EJB says:

    What is this based on? All those organisations are doing fantastic work, but I think if the long-term impact of interventions (i.e. behaviour change) and the number of beneficiaries per country were taken into account, the rankings might change a bit…

  3. I often enjoy blogging and finding this type of info and i appreciate your content. The article has genuinely peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your blog and keep checking pertaining to new information

  4. Good work, however, don’t forget, focus now should change from implemeting new waterpoints with handpumps to HOW to maintain all these handpumps!

    Evaluations show, that over 50% is broken down, so over 150.000 handpumps in Africa alone, are now rusting away, every day more pumps breaking down as well….

    Unfortunatly, FairWater does not have the impression now, that those listed NGOs, (with exeption of Oxfam) are taking this maintenance problem very serious and they continue to donate fragile pumps without a good maintenance concept. Maybe they are even not aware of the fact that most of their pumps don’t work anymore??

    This should really change. FairWater has developed a new approach, simple, cheap and effective, the BlueZone. Based on an integrated business concept for installation and maintenance of durable BluePumps.

    This is now being implemented in Gambia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Mozambique, and more countries to come soon.

    The interesting idea of the BlueZone approach is, that it becomes very easy and cheap for all these NGOs to implement thousands of working handpumps fast and, for a very low price.

    Just spread the word, and have a look at our website for more info for those who are genuie interested in making pumps work!


    Paul van Beers

  5. You made some respectable factors there. I looked on the web for the issue and found most people will go together with along with your website.

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  7. Lisa Roberge says:

    It is good to see the depth and breadth of the WASH organizations growing each year. Kudos to those leading the way.
    Lisa Roberge

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