Clean Water & Sanitation
Program Overview

East Meets West's Clean Water and Sanitation Program provides people in impoverished, rural areas access to safe water and improved sanitation in order to greatly reduce water-borne diseases. This dual approach to improving community health leads to better health and improved economic and education opportunities. 

Providing access to clean water and improved sanitation is one of EMW’s top priorities, with hundreds of sustainable projects successfully implemented in Vietnam and Cambodia, serving over 400,000 people.

Water-related illnesses are the leading cause of human sickness and death in the world, taking the lives of about 6,000 people a day. Women, children and those living in rural areas in developing nations bear a disproportionate burden of the water crisis, often spending hours collecting water every day—time they could more profitably spend pursuing work or education.

Accountability and results of the EMW water system model are insured by the Output-Based Approach, where funders such as the World Bank provide reimbursement for a water system only after its functionality is tested and a requisite number of household connections verified. While most villagers pay for their monthly water usage, the program subsidizes the costs of pipe connections and fees for water delivery to the neediest through its “Poorest of the Poor” program.

The program’s critical sanitation component supports hygiene behavioral change by promoting awareness of practices such as hand washing, installing hand washing stations in schools and building hygienic latrines in communities with existing EMW water systems. Providing better sanitation greatly augments the benefits of the water systems, because lack of sanitation increases the risk of disease, directly jeopardizing the health of the entire community. To date, EMW has helped finance the construction of 13,000 latrines in partnership with Watershed Asia and USAID. Since the Clean Water & Sanitation Program’s inception, EMW has built 250 water systems and brought improved sanitation to over 65,000 people.

“Our family was sick constantly, especially the children. The new water system changed our lives. We’re healthy now and can go to work and school. We can finally give our children a better future."  - Doan Quuc Thanh, Quang Nam Province 

Key Objectives

  • Improve the quality of life and health for people in rural areas by providing them with clean water and improved sanitation
  • Increase accessibility to safe drinking water sources for impoverished communities
  • Reduce childhood mortality and lower the incidence of water-related illnesses
  • Build capacity of local authorities and water managers in technical and financial management skills for water systems
  • Serve as a model for rural water and sanitation systems in Asia
  • Free up more time for women and children to pursue education and work by eliminating the heavy burden of fetching water from a distant source.
  • Build more partnerships with local authorities and international agencies to share lessons learned about design, management, operation and maintenance, and financing to provide better quality and more cost-effective water systems.

Cost Effectiveness

It only costs $40 in up-front costs to bring clean water to one person for a lifetime. All community beneficiaries are required to share the cost by making contributions of cash (to pay for their house connection and water meter) and in-kind labor (for digging and back-filling all of the pipeline trenches). This willingness to pay, which helps to ensure long-term financial sustainability, is part of the reason why EMW projects have a very high success rate. Nearly every water project built by EMW in the past ten years is still in operation.

Key Statistics

Number of people worldwide who die every day due to a lack of clean water

Number of people who have access to clean water due to an EMW village water system

Number of people who have received improved sanitation through EMW

Number of village water systems EMW has built in Vietnam

Provides a household connection to clean, piped water for the Poorest of the Poor

For more information about EMW please see our contact page.

East Meets West

1611 Telegraph Ave., Suite 1420, Oakland, CA 94612
Tel: 1-800.561.3378  |  Tel: 510-763-7045  |  Fax: 510-763-6545

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