Water Sanitation & Hygiene Program

Access to clean, safe water, Sanitation and hygiene is vital for people to stay healthy and to flourish. Yet over 1 billion people worldwide do not have the safe water they need to drink.

Poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are the main causes of infections like cholera and diarrhoea, and inadequate WASH continues to be the leading cause of death of children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa. Girls and women are particularly affected by poor WASH conditions. The labor of carrying water leads to loss of productivity and leisure time and the lack of toilets negatively impacts their dignity.  

In Zambian schools, lack of access to adequate water supply, sanitation and washing facilities negatively affects students and contributes to high dropout rates, especially among girls. With separate toilets for girls and boys, and privacy for menstrual hygiene management, girls are more likely to remain in school, delay pregnancy and marriage, and have stronger employment opportunities. 

In rural areas, women, and children, usually girls, miss out on opportunities to earn a living or go to    school because they spend most hours each day walking miles to fetch water.

In towns and cities, existing water and sanitation facilities are struggling to cope with the ever-rapid increasing urban population growth rate. Many households have access to only very basic latrines – or have none at all. Private vendors sell water at high prices to those unable to fetch their own.

Water and Sanitation situation in Zambia from the 2018 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS):

  • 64 per cent of the population use basic drinking water services (87 per cent in urban areas, 49 per cent in rural areas)
  • 33 per cent of the population use a basic sanitation service (41 per cent in urban areas, 28 per cent in rural areas)
  • 10 per cent of the population practices open defecation (1 per cent in urban areas, 16 per cent in rural areas)
  • 24 per cent of the population has access to basic hygiene services, i.e. a handwashing facility with soap and water (36 per cent urban, 15 per cent rural)

What RFDP Zambia is doing:

RFDP’s water supply programming is supporting the realization of the SDG drinking water target: “By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.”

Improve drinking water sources at school, health facilities and in Villages:

RDP Zambia will continue with efforts to improve the provision of clear and safe drinking water which is located on premises; » available when needed; » compliant with national water quality standards with respect to fecal contamination and chemical contaminants, including arsenic and fluoride.

Improve Sanitation at School, Health facilities and Villages.

RFDP’s sanitation programming is supporting the realization of the SDG sanitation and hygiene target: “By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.”

RFDP Zambia will continue with efforts to improve sanitation facilities which is not shared with other households, and » where excreta (including infant and child faeces) are safely disposed in situ, or transported and treated off-site, and » a handwashing facility with soap and water is present

Improve Hygiene behaviour and Practices at School and Community Level

Hygiene promotion is an essential component of water and sanitation programmes. Reductions in diarrhoeal diseases mostly accrue from the improved hygiene practices that improvements in sanitation and water facilities permit. Hygiene promotion can also improve health in the absence of improved facilities.

 Hygiene is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda and RFDP Zambia is focusing on influencing hygiene behaviour change in the four key areas of handwashing, menstrual hygiene management (MHM), safe water handling, and the safe disposal of excreta. These areas will be emphasized in programme design based on evidence of their importance to the health and well-being of children, women, and communities and on the fact that they are still areas of weakness in national WASH programmes in many countries. To help ensure that hygiene, and especially handwashing with soap (or with ash), become lifelong practices, RFDP Zambia will pull its organizational focus on children to instil habits at a young age. This will include the promotion of innovative approaches such as daily group handwashing in schools, as well as collaboration with early childhood education, primary schools and villages in the communities. RFDP Zambia will also continue sensitization the communities to improve hygiene behaviors and adopt better hygiene practices at household level.

RFDP Zambia through its work in Zambia will ensure the following.

Children and their families use basic sanitation at home and live in communities free from open defecation.

2. Children and their families use a basic drinking water service and drink safe water at home.

3. Children and their families practice effective handwashing with soap or ash at critical times.

4. Learning environments have basic drinking water, gender-separated sanitation, and handwashing with soap facilities, which are accessible to all.

5. Health care facilities have basic drinking water, gender-separated sanitation, and handwashing with soap facilities, which are accessible to all, especially at the time of childbirth and during newborn care


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NAPSA Building
Chipata, Zambia
Phone: +260 21 6 223 870
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