Ranked Nonprofits: International Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene 2011

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"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
"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

The Cause: 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.

The Scope: Experts working in the field of water, sanitation, and hygiene were asked 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. The nonprofits could be working in direct service, advocacy, litigation, research, education, and other areas.


116 International Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene experts recommended the following 15 outstanding nonprofits.
Meet the experts and read more about this research.


Top Nonprofit Mission
1 Medal-small-2011 WaterAid
WaterAid transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world's poorest communities. We work with partners and influence decision-makers to maximise our impact.
2 Medal-small-2011 Water for People
Water For People works to build a world where all people have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and where no one suffers or dies from a water- or sanitation-related disease. This is our vision. We’re on a mission. We work with people and partners to develop innovative and long-lasting solutions to the water, sanitation, and hygiene problems in the developing world. We strive to continually improve, to experiment with promising new ideas, and to leverage resources to multiply our impact.
3 Medal-small-2011 UNICEF
UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress. UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a "first call for children" and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families. UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children - victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities. UNICEF responds in emergencies to protect the rights of children. In coordination with United Nations partners and humanitarian agencies, UNICEF makes its unique facilities for rapid response available to its partners to relieve the suffering of children and those who provide their care. UNICEF is non-partisan and its cooperation is free of discrimination. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority. UNICEF aims, through its country programmes, to promote the equal rights of women and girls and to support their full participation in the political, social, and economic development of their communities. UNICEF works with all its partners towards the attainment of the sustainable human development goals adopted by the world community and the realization of the vision of peace and social progress enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
4 Medal-small-2011 IRC (International Water and Sanitation Centre)
IRC's mission is to help poor people in developing countries to get the best water and sanitation services by emphasizing the introduction of communication, gender, participation, community management and affordable technologies into water and sanitation programmes.
5 Medal-small-2011 CARE International
CARE’s mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from CARE’s global diversity, resources and experience, it promotes innovative solutions and is an advocate for global responsibility.
6 Medal-small-2011 Oxfam
The purpose of Oxfam is to help create lasting solutions to the injustice of poverty. We are part of a global movement for change, one that empowers people to create a future that is secure, just, and free from poverty.
7 Medal-small-2011 Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. We are motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice, and embody Catholic social and moral teaching as we act to:

  • Promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies; and,
  • Serve Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world.


As part of the universal mission of the Catholic Church, we work with local, national and international Catholic institutions and structures, as well as other organizations, to assist people on the basis of need, not creed, race or nationality.
8 Medal-small-2011 PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health)
PATH is an international nonprofit organization that transforms global health through innovation. We take an entrepreneurial approach to developing and delivering high-impact, low-cost solutions, from lifesaving vaccines to collaborative programs with communities. Through our work in more than 70 countries, PATH and our partners empower people to achieve their full potential.
9 Medal-small-2011 Water.org
Water.org is challenging the traditional approach to assisting people in developing countries. Our goals are to draw attention to the world's number one health problem, unsafe and inadequate water supplies, and to raise funds to help fight this immense problem - one community at a time. Our mission is to inspire people to act: Donors - to provide consistent financial resources with a sense of solidarity for those in need of safe water Staff and volunteers - to seek innovative and efficient solutions to meeting the global water supply needs of today and tomorrow People in need of safe water - to take the lead in meeting their own needs Together, people form the "water partnership" that allow us to realize our vision. Develop high quality, sustainable water projects. We use our expertise to foster high-quality, sustainable, community-level water supply projects. We promote innovative solutions that enable communities to take a leading role in solving their own water supply problems. Enable donors to invest wisely. We exist to create a global awareness of the water supply crisis and to help people respond. We carefully invest donors' funds in only the highest quality projects through locally-based water development organizations. We hold ourselves accountable to donors and to people who benefit from the projects they support.
10 Medal-small-2011 iDE
iDE creates income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households.
11 Medal-small-2011 WASH Advocacy Initiative
Working to bring universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
12 Medal-small-2011 Plan International
Plan International USA is part of a global organization that works side-by-side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children. Plan develops solutions community by community to ensure long-term sustainability. Our level of community engagement, long-term outlook and constant focus on the needs and priorities of children is unique among international development organizations. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by the community for generations to come and range from clean water and healthcare programs to education projects and child protection initiatives.
13 Medal-small-2011 Save the Children
Save the Children is the leading independent organization creating lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world. Recognized for our commitment to accountability, innovation and collaboration, our work takes us into the heart of communities, where we help children and families help themselves. We work with other organizations, governments, non-profits and a variety of local partners while maintaining our own independence without political agenda or religious orientation. When disaster strikes around the world, Save the Children is there to save lives with food, medical care and education and remains to help communities rebuild through long-term recovery programs. As quickly and as effectively as Save the Children responds to tsunamis and civil conflict, it works to resolve the ongoing struggles children face every day — poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease — and replaces them with hope for the future.
14 Medal-small-2011 World Vision International
World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.
15 Medal-small-2011 Practical Action
To use technology to challenge poverty by: Building the capabilities of poor people; Improving their access to technical options and knowledge, and Working with them to influence social economic and institutional systems for innovation and the use of technology.


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Through independent research, Philanthropedia has leveraged the wisdom of 3121 experts to provide reviews on 767 top nonprofits across 47 causes.