The Essentials of WASH: Demystifying Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

WASH may be a a fancy acronym, but it’s also a lifeline and a promise for healthier communities, cleaner environments, and a more sustainable future. The abbreviation for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene represents fundamental concepts and values essential for well-being and community development. WASH is extremely vital and contributes to the flourishing of communities.

A child is having fun playing with foam and water in their hands
A child and their mother express joy and relief upon receiving clean water

WASH is directly related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), a set of necessary sustainable development goals serving as a global call to action. Goal 6 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) centres on “Clean Water and Sanitation.” Its primary objective is to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This goal highlights the importance of access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation facilities, and improved hygiene practices to enhance overall health, well-being, and environmental sustainability. This goal is also closely related to other UNSDGs such as health (Goal 3), gender equality (Goal 5), reduced inequalities (Goal 10), and environmental sustainability (Goals 13, 14, and 15). Achieving clean water outcomes is not a standalone goal but contributes to improved health outcomes, reduced poverty, and the overall well-being of communities worldwide.

Improving WASH standards and infrastructure in rural Uganda has economic benefits that cannot be understated. Not only does it greatly boost productivity, but also reduces expenditure on healthcare, as well as contributes to economic development within communities. A 2021 report by international non-profit WaterAid found that “ensuring everyone, everywhere has access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene – a water point within a 15-minute walk, a household toilet, and soap and water to wash hands – would bring returns of 21 times their cost,” even with rising and changing costs due to climate change (Vexler et al, p.16). Additionally, consider that chronic and severe illnesses and diseases often take away the ability to work, thus greatly reducing productivity, however, with the proper sanitation infrastructure and education, this health crisis can be reduced and solved.

In line with the United Nations’ mandate, Acts for Water is committed to using Gravity Flow Systems to provide clean, safe, and consistent water sources to several Ugandan villages. Our efforts directly address the critical issue of clean water and sanitation facilities and education, aligning with the global mission of ensuring a healthier and more sustainable future. Through your support, we can address the challenge of remote, rural, and impoverished areas of Uganda in partnership and collaboration with local individuals and organizations to nurture economic growth and break the cycle of poverty that comes with a lack of access to clean water and sanitation!

2 other complete latrines at Nyamabare
A woman from Uganda cleansing her hands following latrine use


“Sustainable Development Goals.” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),

Vexler, Caroline, et al. “Mission-Critical: Invest in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for a

Healthy and Green Economic Recovery.” WaterAid, VividEconomics and WaterAid, 7
July 2021,