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Partnership for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

USAID’s WASH programs support India's priority to provide clean water and sanitation services to all

USAID partners with the Government of India to create healthier urban communities by increasing access to clean water and sanitation. This objective is stated in both the USAID Water and Development Strategy and the Water for the World Act. USAID and the Government of India test and identify models for safe, affordable drinking water and sanitation services. These models can be implemented on a larger scale by the public and private sectors. 

WASH in India

India is the second most populous country in the world and almost 60% of the population lives in urban areas. The urban population is increasing rapidly, making it difficult for water and sanitation services. Because of limited access to functioning, safe toilets, 40% of the population defecates in the open. This contaminates water and leads to India having the world’s highest number of diarrhea-related deaths in children under five. To address these problems, including to end open defecation in India by 2019, the The Government of India launched the five-year Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission to end open defecation. USAID is supporting this mission by first creating awareness of WASH issues and triggering demand from citizens and local government bodies for solutions. USAID and its partners identify scalable WASH solutions that the Government of India and the private sector can implement across the country. 

Creating awareness and demand

USAID works with the Government of India and other partners to create awareness about sanitation issues and generate demand for solutions. For example, a USAID-supported cleanliness survey helped government officials identify specific issues related to sanitation in 73 cities. This sparked a demand from all 4,041 cities in India for data to inform future service and planning decisions. 

Providing WASH solutions

USAID partners develop methods to make clean water available at a low cost. Partners establish clean water kiosks and train community members in how to turn the kiosks into a profitable business. USAID partners train government officials at the city, state and national levels on new techniques that can help their cities become cleaner, faster. USAID also works with community members in designing community toilets. Community members and school children are promote good hand washing habits and encourage neighbors to stop defecating in the open.  

Fast Facts

  • India’s Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission aims to end open defecation by October 2019
  • 500 children die every day from preventable diarrhea-related illness
  • India loses more than $106 billion per year of its GDP due to inadequate sanitation

WASH results in 2017

  • 300,000 more people have access to household toilets
  • 25,000 communities are open defecation free and healthier
  • 175,000 more people now have access to safe drinking water
  • Secured more than $5 million funding from the private sector to implement WASH solutions identified by USAID and its partners

Last updated: June 24, 2019

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