A honest look at the 12 most honorable and most effective clean water charity organizations that are currently making a difference in the world, the regions which they work in, and what makes them special.
The global water crisis has been the focus of many non-profit organizations for decades.
Some are known for making a difference in some of the most water-stricken regions of the world, while others have garnered a reputation for exploitation and poor revenue management.
In this article, we’ve gathered a list of the top 12 clean water charity organizations from around the world, which are highly reputable, currently active, and vigorously and creatively making an effort to fight the global water crisis.
The Current State of the NGO World
The Global Journal estimates that there are around 10 million NGOs worldwide (Tech Report). While it's difficult to determine how many of these organizations are dedicated to the water crisis, Guidestar, the leading database in NGO stats and information, provides about 18,000 results when inquiring about water-related NGOs. And while many of these organizations operate on a local level or address water needs as a supplement to other concerns, very few focus primarily on the water crisis on a global scale.
As with all NGOs, transparency and revenue circulation is always a legitimate concern for supporters. According to Johns Hopkins University, if all NGOs formed a country, it would have the 5th largest economy in the world (Non-profit Action). With reports of corruption circulating in the NGO world, it is no wonder why skepticism would cause hesitation in donors.
While water isn't the most popular topic among humanitarians and NGOs, it is undoubtedly an increasing, distressing concern. According to the CDC, 780 million people worldwide do not have access to a clean water source, and an estimated 2.5 billion do not have access to improved sanitation. These stats gravely contribute to 3.4 million people dying each year from waterborne diseases, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, as reported by the World Health Organization (Oosterveen).
With rising concerns about water scarcity and the overwhelming number of NGOs, we've compiled a list of the most reputable, most active NGOs which are actively and efficiently engaging in the global water crisis.
- Location: New York, NY
- Areas active: Africa, Asia, Central and South America
- Year established: 2006
Charity Water is an NGO aimed at providing clean and safe water to people living in developed countries. This organization prides itself on transparency; funds received through donations are used to sponsor safe water projects. In addition, all projects are proven via photos and GPS, making it possible for donors to see how their money is being spent.
Their mission is to solve the water crisis in developing countries and reinvent charity. With approximately 28,389 water projects in about 26 developing countries, Charity Water has provided safe and clean water to over 8 million people. In December 2013, Charity Water provided water to the Bandundu Region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a project currently serving approximately 250 people.
- Location: Kansas City, MO
- Areas active: Africa – Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda; Asia – Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia; Latin America – Brazil, Honduras, Peru
- Year established: 2009
Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, this not-for-profit organization, with the objective of making safe water and sanitation available to all through affordable financing, is proud to have empowered the lives of about 12 million people worldwide. To avoid using charity as a long-term solution, the organization created the WaterCredit scheme, which makes household sanitation and safe water a reality through the provision of expert resources and small and affordable loans.
Their commitment to providing safe water and sanitation to everyone has earned them a 4-star rating and has caused them to be ranked among the top 10% of global charities regarding financial accountability and transparency.
Clean Water Fund
- Location: Washington, DC
- Areas active: United States
- Year establishes: 1974
Clean Water Fund is focused principally on developing environmental leadership, bringing together and collaborating with different constituencies to improve lives while focusing on environmental, consumer, and community problems.
Ever since its inception in 1978, this organization has aided in the successful campaigning for safer and cleaner water and air and protection from toxic pollution. These programs are complemented by Clean Water Action, which has played a major role in developing, strengthening, and defending the nation's significant water and toxic laws, especially as many drinking water sources are continually threatened by overconsumption, pollution, and even climate change.
- Location: London, UK
- Areas active: East Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa, The Americas, Asia, and Pacific, Europe
- Year established: 1981
Water Aid seeks to make a difference by facilitating access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene in some of the world’s poorest locales. By making an effort to influence decision-makers and working with partners, this organization helps residents of impoverished communities to gain access to clean and safe water and sanitation.
Their local partners understand the issues plaguing communities, and by working with these partners, they can set up and manage sustainable and practical projects which make a real positive impact on the communities. In addition, they play an essential role in recognizing the vital role that water, sanitation, and hygiene play in reducing poverty.
- Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
- Areas active: Ethiopia, Uganda, Cambodia
- Year established: 1977
Water is Life
- Location: Oklahoma City, OK
- Areas served: Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Middle East
- Year established: 2007
- Location: Geneva, Switzerland
- Areas served: Global
- Year established: 2010
World Water Council
- Location: Marseille, France
- Areas served: Global
- Year established: 1996
The Water Project
- Location: Concord, New Hampshire
- Areas served: sub-Saharan Africa
- Year established: 2008
- Location: New South Wales, Australia
- Areas served: Asia, Pacific, Africa, Central and South America, Middle East
- Year established: 2005
Save the Water
- Location: Surfside, Florida
- Areas served: Global
- Year established: 1999
The Last Well
- Location: Rockwall, Texas
- Areas served: Liberia
- Year established: 2008
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CDC. (2016, April 11). Global WASH Fast Facts | Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water | CDC. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/global/wash_statistics.html
Non Profit Action. (n.d.). Facts and Stats about NGOs Worldwide. Retrieved from http://nonprofitaction.org/2015/09/facts-and-stats-about-ngos-worldwide/
Oosterveen, H. (n.d.). WHO World Water Day Report. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/takingcharge.html
Tech Report. (n.d.). 2017 Global NGO Online Technology Report & Infographics | Download Now. Retrieved from https://techreport.ngo/previous/2017/facts-and-stats-about-ngos-worldwide.html
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