Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Contribute to improving the living conditions and health of Afghanistan's rural population in the districts of Ruye DoAb, Tala wa Barfak, Kahmard and Saighan, through the promotion of critical hygiene practices and the facilitation of sustainable access to drinking water and appropriate sanitation.


While on average only 60% of Afghan families have access to water from an improved source, the situation in the remote rural areas is judged critical with hardly more than 20% of the households having access to clean water. Access to improved sanitation in rural areas may be as low as 5%. Waterborne diseases are widespread and remain a major cause of child mortality. In many areas people rely on rain- and floodwater harvesting for water consumption for people and animals. Years of severe drought are leading to migration. Surveys confirm that access to water is the single most important need in rural areas.
The 2013-2015 WASH project will focus on delivering the soft- and hardware components with regard to water, sanitation and hygiene to schools and madrassas and to communities based on needs assessments and mobilization for planning and commitment. Furthermore the WASH project will support district stakeholders with basic tools to coordinate work towards achieving WASH minimum standards and emphasis will be given to test different modalities for strengthening operation and maintenance.
By providing improved water and sanitation facilities to schools and madrassas and focusing on integrating hygiene education and practises into the school routine together with the teachers and mullahs the children will acquire skills for life which they will impart within their families. Mobilizing for an open defecation free environment and the construction of improved latrines as well as identifying lead persons within the community to promote critical hygiene practices will be part of the WASH planning at Community Development Council (CDC) level. The communities will be supported to construct or rehabilitate appropriate water supply systems, such as wells, gravity schemes or spring protections engaging the private sector, and bio sand filters will be introduced where people still rely on contaminated surface water.


District stakeholders (DRRD, DoEd, DG, DDA) are capacitated and equipped with basic tools to coordinate work towards achieving and maintaining WASH minimum standards.
Schools and madrassas in the target districts have appropriate water supply and sanitation facilities and hygiene education is practised. Transfer of critical hygiene and sanitation practices from schools/ madrassas to communities has been enhanced.
The access of the population in the target CDCs to functional WASH infrastructure and services is improved.


  • Promotion of water, sanitation and hygiene as integrated package. It is without doubt that the provision of access to a reliable water supply as such will ease the life of those who are lacking it tremendously; in order to also gain the benefit of improving the health of the population the use of water must be combined with appropriate hygiene behaviour and the use of appropriate sanitation.
  • Coordination and knowledge sharing with all WASH stakeholders and support to oversight systems. The project will coordinate its activities with all WASH actors and by supporting to build the organizational capacity for district level planning, monitoring and coordination within the district authorities, promote the outreach of activities based on need, and the functioning of water supply systems over time. Through participation and information exchange at the Water and Sanitation Group project staff will contribute to debates and decisions taken at national level and feed information into national level systems.
  • Focus on the young generation. While supporting all population segments to enjoy the benefits of improved water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and acknowledging that behaviour changes may take a long time, the project will also specifically focus its attention on promoting the adoption of critical hygiene practices among the young generation through its WASH in schools/ madrassas component.
  • Participatory planning and support to the local private sector. All projects and CDC WASH plans will be developed in collaboration with the beneficiaries, who will also contribute to the cost. Wherever possible HSI will encourage the engagement of local private sector good and services providers.
  • Principles of Good Governance, Conflict Sensitive Project Management, and Gender and Cultural Sensitivity and Client Satisfaction are at the basis of all actions.
  • Capacities of the Community Development Councils (CDC), the District Development Assemblies (DDA), the relevant line ministry representatives at district level and the men and women community members are enhanced to strengthen human assets.


The project will focus its activities in the four adjacent districts of Ruye Doab (Samangan), Tala wa Barfak (Baghlan), Kahmard and Saighan (Bamian), where HSI has established a long standing relationship of trust with the communities and district level authorities by implementing different projects since 2006.


The project’s main partners for planning and implementation of activities are the Community Development Councils (CDCs), which have been established under the National Solidarity Programme (NSP). The collaboration with CDCs is based on a Code of Conduct. In addition, the WASH project works through the District Development Assembly (DDA) and seeks consent with the traditional councils (Shuras) and Mullahs. For the WASH in schools and madrassas component the project will collaborate with the teachers and mullahs responsible.
With regard to strengthening coordination and coordination capacity the projects sees the District Departments of the Ministries of Rural Development and Rehabilitation (MRRD) and Education (MoEd), as well as the District Governor and all WASH NGO’s working in the target districts as partners.


People fetching unsafe water from river - before Doro pipe scheme project
PROJECT START:  January 2013

CURRENT PHASE:  2013 - 2015

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

CONTACT:  afghanistan@helvetas.org

Safe water from public water point, Doro pipe scheme, Kahmard, 2014

Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) mobilisation to end open defecation in the whole