United Methodist Committee on Relief

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Water is essential. It is used not only for drinking but for bathing, cooking, cleaning, waste disposal, and agriculture. Yet, 663 million people around the world do not have adequate access to it. In developing countries, even when water is accessible, it may not be clean. Because of this, 5,000 children a day die from waterborne diseases. What’s more, 2.4 billion people around the world lack basic sanitation.

UMCOR’s Water and Sanitation program is helping vulnerable communities gain better access to clean water by locating safe water sources, educating communities, and improving sanitation.

Clean Water

UMCOR helps communities rehabilitate existing water infrastructure or build wells from scratch. Locating reliable water sources can take months or even years. Once a source is determined, we distribute household water filtration units and provide training on their proper use and maintenance. UMCOR-supported water and sanitation projects in a dozen countries are helping thousands of people access safe water to meet their day-to-day needs.


Forming a Community Development Committee (CDC) is just as important as digging a well in a place where water is scarce. Through CDCs, UMCOR helps communities take ownership of their water systems and build strategies and solutions around their long-term water supply. We also teach community members how to maintain their water systems and care for them over time. And we also focus education efforts on the development of good hygiene practices.


About 80 percent of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. In developing countries, diarrhea kills 2.2 million people each year. UMCOR builds latrines and hand-washing stations so that people can live healthier lives. We always couple these efforts with education about how to prevent the spread of disease.

Support this work with your gift to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, Advance #3020600.

Sanitation & Hygiene News

Filtering Lead-Contaminated Waters in Michigan
After water in Flint, Michigan, became contaminated with lead, UMCOR aids the church in its response to the water crisis.
Blessing of Water in Pakistan
Family hand pumps provide clean water for families making a living in Falaisabad District.
World Toilet Day: “Now We Are Safer”
Bringing attention to the global sanitation challenge in observance of World Toilet Day, Nov. 19.
Weaving Integrated Development
A look at an UMCOR integrated development project in Guatemala.
Collaboration for clean water
In Papua New Guinea, villagers respond to climate change challenges with innovation and collaboration.
Women in BĂ©nin Share Lifesaving Practice
They have learned the importance of handwashing to prevent illness.
A Treated River in Bolivia Shows Visible Improvement
UMCOR and Engineers in Action tackle poisonous pollution in a Bolivian mining area, and now some 90,000 people are seeing their health prosp ...
UMCOR Celebrates with Youths at Y15
UMCOR shared with more than 4,000 young people its work to alleviate suffering around the world.
The Fun UMCOR Had at Youth 2015
UMCOR went to Youth 2015, a United Methodist event for middle and high schoolers. See what we did!
Communities in South Sudan Work Together for Healthier Sanitation
Communities identify and remedy sanitation issues, a pathway to improved health and well-being.
Global Development


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