Ranked Nonprofits: International Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene 2015

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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.


81 International Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene experts recommended the following 16 outstanding nonprofits.
Meet the experts and read more about this research.


Top Nonprofit Mission
1 Medal-small-2015 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 maximize our impact.
2 Medal-small-2015 Water for People
Water For People exists for one purpose, and it’s as simple as our name: we want all people to have safe, continuous water, and when they do, our job will be done. We want water for everyone, forever.
3 Medal-small-2015 IRC
IRC WASH works with people in the poorest communities in the world, with local and national governments, and with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to help them develop water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services that last not for years, but forever. We identify the barriers to making this happen and we tackle them. We help people to make the change from short-term interventions to long-term services that will transform their lives and their futures.

We do this by:

uncovering the problems people face in maintaining WASH services in the communities that need them most;

helping those who plan and provide services to adapt and change the way they think and work, creating learning communities that go on to develop credible, affordable and long-term services;

putting ideas and knowledge into practice through innovative action research that helps people make better use of money and time and increases their awareness of what’s needed;

advocating and sharing expertise, experience and insights with all those who can make change happen; influencing policies and practices that affect those people whose lives and futures are threatened by unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene.

4 Medal-small-2015 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.

5 Medal-small-2015 Water.org
Water.org envisions the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water. It is easy to take for granted ready access to a safe supply of drinking water. Yet nearly one billion people lack this most basic commodity. Creating accessible, safe water supplies in developing countries liberates people to live healthier, fuller, more productive lives.
6 Medal-small-2015 Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP)
WSUP’s mission is to improve the lives of the urban poor in developing countries by strengthening the capacity of service providers and others to provide sustainable water and sanitation services, promote good hygiene and raise the health and environmental standards of the community.

Every second, the world’s urban population grows by two people. That’s more than 7,000 people every hour moving into towns and cities around the world, all needing safe and affordable water and sanitation. This puts huge pressure on city service agencies.

In response, WSUP focuses on developing commercially viable models to help water utilities and municipal authorities reach all citizens in their city with improved water and sanitation services. These models are then used as a basis for advocating for wider scale up of such approaches by service providers and local and national governments and their partners.

WSUP was established in 2005 and has quickly become recognised as a leading actor in the urban WASH sector, demonstrating how multi-sector partnerships can have significant impact.

7 Medal-small-2015 Rural Water Supply Network
RWSN’s vision is of a world in which all rural people have access to a sustainable and reliable water supply which can be effectively managed to provide sufficient, affordable and safe water within a reasonable distance of the home.
8 Medal-small-2015 SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
We help to alleviate poverty by focusing on increasing people's income and employment opportunities in specific productive sectors, as well as improving their access to basic services including water, sanitation and hygiene, and renewable energy.

In a world characterised by persistent poverty, but also by fast developing opportunities and increasing local capacities, a supply driven and ‘one-size-fits-all’ development strategy increasingly misses the point. Demand-driven approaches, carefully crafted to the local context and inspired and fed by a robust global knowledge base, are needed to realise the required breakthroughs in view of local needs and global challenges.

9 Medal-small-2015 Millennium Water Alliance
The Millennium Water Alliance's mission is to assist people in developing countries with access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education by offering sustainable solutions through advocacy, learning and collaborative programming.
10 Medal-small-2015 World Vision International (WVI)
World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Saviour 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.
11 Medal-small-2015 Plan
The mission of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB): We are a body of young people from the United States serving as ambassadors to Plan International USA. We strive to create and nurture a connection between Plan’s youth and its decision makers in order to reinforce Plan’s mission of empowering and assisting children worldwide.
12 Medal-small-2015 CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere)
Our mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world.

Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and decades of experience, we promote innovative solutions and are advocates for global responsibility.

We facilitate lasting change by:

Strengthening capacity for self-help

Providing economic opportunity

Delivering relief in emergencies

Influencing policy decisions at all levels

Addressing discrimination in all its forms

Guided by the aspirations of local communities, we pursue our mission with both excellence and compassion because the people whom we serve deserve nothing less.

13 Medal-small-2015 Oxfam America, Inc.
Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. We save lives, develop long-term solutions to poverty, and campaign for social change. As one of 17 members of the international Oxfam confederation, we work with people in more than 90 countries to create lasting solutions.

Our vision: A just world without poverty.

Our mission: To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice.

14 Medal-small-2015 Rotary International
The collective leadership and expertise of Rotary International's 1.2 million members helps us tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, locally and globally. We are united by common values and vision for the future as we sharpen our focus with targeted specific causes that will reach communities most in need
15 Medal-small-2015 PATH
PATH is the leader in global health innovation. An international nonprofit organization, we save lives and improve health, especially among women and children. By mobilizing partners around the world, we take innovation to scale, working alongside countries primarily in Africa and Asia to tackle their greatest health needs. Together, we deliver measurable results that disrupt the cycle of poor health.
16 Medal-small-2015 iDE (International Development Enterprises)
iDE creates income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households.

iDE is an international non-profit dedicated to ending poverty in the developing world not through handouts, but by helping farm families access the tools and knowledge they need to increase their income.

Most of the poorest individuals on our planet, more than 800 million, are subsistence farmers who survive by farming small plots of land. We work with these populations in order to make a significant impact on global poverty.

It's a respect issue. Rather than deciding for them what they need, we allow our customers to decide whether our offerings have value for them or not.



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Through independent research, Philanthropedia has leveraged the wisdom of 3125 experts to provide reviews on 783 top nonprofits across 48 causes.