Water Health International Day COVID-19

What if we didn’t have clean water or soap to wash our hands?

Written by Dr. Greg Allgood on Apr 6, 2020 3:25:34 PM

D485-0774-91jpg_870989World Vision’s expertise in the prevention of the spread of infectious disease has never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most important activities to prevent the spread of the virus is to ensure that people have a way to wash their hands and understand why it’s so critical. And of course, you can’t wash your hands effectively without clean water. 

That’s why we are doing everything we can to continue our vital water, sanitation, and hygiene programs in addition to COVID-19 specific response efforts.

Thanks to the support of donors like you, World Vision has become the most experienced and largest nongovernmental organization (NGO) implementer of hygiene, sanitation, and water programs in the world.  We know how to prevent the spread of infectious disease. We don’t always talk about our hygiene education – teaching people about handwashing -  but we’re the top NGO doing this work. For example, last year World Vision reached 4.3 million  people in 55 countries with hygiene behavior-change education and facilitated the building of nearly half a million handwashing stations.  In the last four years, we’ve reached an incredible 16.5 million people with handwashing education.  Learn more about the global impact you’re making in our most recent report.

Other distinctive attributes of World Vision’s work include:

  • D240-0186-35jpg_897913We bring handwashing and water to health care facilities. World Vision knows, from our collaboration with the University of North Carolina Water Institute, that only half of the health care facilities in the areas where we work have water access at the facility. And only 16% have basic handwashing facilities. In this time of COVID-19 – when everyone knows what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is – it’s hard to imagine health care workers without even a way to wash their hands. World Vision is already the global leader in providing handwashing and water in health care facilities. We made a commitment last year to reach 800 health care facilities and we’ve already reached 399.

    We not only provide water and handwashing facilities but also train health care personnel on infection prevention control and disinfection.   In addition, based on the COVID outbreak, we’re now also providing Personal Protective Equipment to front-line health care facilities in many countries.

  • W087-0136-049We are a faith-based organization. People in Africa are twice as likely as people in the U.S. to attend weekly religious services and five times more likely than Europeans. Understanding the importance of faith leaders and their influence in African communities, World Vision’s Channels of Hope program teaches and equips faith leaders in thousands of churches to communicate messages of good hygiene to their congregations – expanding the reach well beyond what we can do one-on-one. We’ve been on-the-ground working with faith leaders for decades and have built deep trust that we are now leveraging to educate people on ways to prevent the spread of the virus.

  • W363-0120-008We have proven impact. World Vision has extensive experience in supporting social and behavioral change in the face of global disease outbreaks, including polio, Zika, H5N1, and the Ebola crisis. Our approach was found to be one of the most effective ways to prevent deaths in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and has been recognized as such by the public health community including publication of our approach in The Lancet, a leading medical journal. 

  • abernathy_colorWe have you. Our committed donors and partners are the reason this vital work can be done. Without your prayers and generosity, it wouldn’t happen.




So, we know how to prevent the spread of infectious disease including COVID-19. God has given us the combination of scale, expertise, and partnerships that make us uniquely capable of responding and making a significant difference. Please continue praying and giving … as you are able.

Wash your hands, stay safe, and may God bless and protect you and your loved ones.


Learn more about World Vision's COVID-19 response.