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Water, sanitation and hygiene programs lead to healthier households and communities

October 14, 2016

Each year, Global Handwashing Day offers a time to reflect on the approaches and best practices that improve water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH) and household air pollution. This summer, FHI 360 marked the close of the WASHplus project, which has been the U.S. Agency for International Development’s global flagship activity for environmental health since 2010. WASHplus and its predecessor, the Hygiene Improvement Project, broke new ground by developing and implementing effective, integrated programs across health and nonhealth sectors. In addition to improving water and sanitation programs in Bangladesh and Madagascar, WASHplus integrated WASH approaches into programs for neglected tropical diseases in Burkina Faso, HIV in Kenya, nutrition in Mali, schools in Zambia and clean cooking in Bangladesh and Nepal.

Highlights of the WASHplus project include:


  • Built latrines that gave 157,838 people access to better sanitation 
  • Constructed water points, such as tube wells, that improved access to drinking water for 94,471 people
  • Conducted a consumer needs and preferences assessment that led Greenway Appliances to develop a larger cookstove, the JumboStove


  • Installed 1,762 handwashing stations in homes and institutions 
  • Provided nearly 10,000 mothers or caretakers of children under 5 years of age with information on how to improve hygiene to reduce vulnerability to diarrhea and cholera
  • Trained teachers to make tippy tap handwashing stations and to keep drinking water safe in schools 

Burkina Faso 

  • Trained 1,643 people in how to integrate WASH into programs for neglected tropical diseases
  • Implemented a radio campaign emphasizing behavior change to improve WASH activities 


  • Trained more than 8,000 community health workers in WASH-HIV integration messages
  • Reached more than 1.6 million Kenyans with inclusive sanitation messages


  • Improved access to drinking water for 19,419 people through the creation of new water kiosks
  • Installed SanPlat slabs that improved access to sanitation facilities for 1,500 people 


  • Improved access to water for more than 40,000 people through newly constructed or repaired water points
  • Integrated WASH practices with household nutrition and hygiene, which decreased the number of reports of diarrhea among children under 2 years of age by 7.2 percent in target areas


  • Developed a cookstove consumer preference toolkit to combat high levels of household air pollution


  • Reached nearly 500 schools in the districts of Chadiza, Chipata, Lundazi and Mambwe with a comprehensive WASH facility improvement and hygiene education program
  • Developed a toolkit to help primary school personnel conduct menstrual hygiene management activities
  • Expanded access to an improved water supply to more than 259,253 people in target areas

More information on the impact of WASHplus, as well as resources for WASH programs, can be found in the end of project report.