Rural Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (R-WASH)


Only 42 percent of Afghans have access to clean drinking water. Moreover, only 27 percent of the rural population has access to sanitation facilities resulting in exposure to water-borne illnesses that cause diarrhea, claiming the lives of an estimated 85,000 Afghan children under the age of five every year. USAID partners with the UNICEF to work with the Afghan Government, with other development agencies, and with civil society to strengthen the quality of water, sanitation, and hygiene services in households, schools, and health facilities. The program aims to improve the lives of at least 75,000 vulnerable and disadvantaged households in 16 selected rural Afghan provinces.

Activity Description

The project aims to accomplish the following goals during the lifetime of the project:

  • Increase access to drinking water services and increase the sustainability of water supply systems with higher levels of service through the involvement of small-scale enterprises to maintain them.
  • Support health centers to adopt protocols which will be developed in the Afghan context and pre-tested to introduce a hygiene behavioral change program in health facilities and hospitals.
  • Educate local partners and community groups to deliver messages that improve knowledge of hygiene and use of good hygiene habits in target communities in 16 target provinces.

Expected Outcomes

  • Improved quality of drinking water for at least 525,000 people (in about 75,000 households in up to 1,000 communities) by the end of 2019, and expanded access to sources in or closer to homes.
  • Implemented improved hygiene habits in at least 50 health centers.
  • Expanded access to an improved drinking water supply for children in about 200 primary schools or community based learning centers, and separate restroom facilities for girls provided.
  • Supported operation, maintenance, servicing and- management of small-scale rural community water supplies through private enterprises or associations.
  • Introduced solar powered water pumps and gravity-fed water systems, which are more reliable and cheaper to maintain than traditional hand pumps.