According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year there are 2 million deaths related to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene—the vast majority among children under five.

More than 2 billion people lack access to improved sanitation. This month, governments will gather at the United Nations in New York to launch the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of which is to provide universal access to water and sanitation.  

When progress is not enough

"While progress has been made, there are still more than 600 million people who don't have access to clean water.” according to Allison Tummon Kamphuis, P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program leader. “No one company or government can solve the problem. Governments, non-governmental organizations like the United Nations and international NGOs, private sector companies and communities all have to work together."

“Achieving the goal of universal coverage for safe water and sanitation would give millions of children and families better health, more days in school and allows parents to earn income and provide for their families.”

For years, Procter & Gamble has been part of that group effort along with many others. After years of research and collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Company created a water purification packet that uses powder technology to turn contaminated water into clean drinking water. 

In 2004, they started the non-profit P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program (CSDW), which partners with NGOs, emergency relief agencies and governments to provide clean drinking water in more than 75 countries.  P&G has committed to deliver 15 billion liters of clean drinking water by 2020.

The new plan

This year, WHO also announced a five-year agenda to bring water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH) into health facilities. Water.org, led by actor Matt Damon and Gary White, announced in 2014 that the group would dedicate the majority of all future investments on expanding WASH to other countries. This is a fight many others are joining, including some of the biggest providers of water: World Vision, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and UNICEF.

“Clean water is important because not only does it have the power to save lives, but it also transforms lives,” says Tummon Kamphuis, “Achieving the goal of universal coverage for safe water and sanitation would give millions of children and families better health, more days in school and allows parents to earn income and provide for their families.”