Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Water is life and lack of access to safe water is a striking feature in almost all parts of Somalia. Only 45% of Somalis have access to improved water sources and this increases the risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases. Cholera is endemic and claims hundreds of lives annually, particularly in densely populated areas. Increasing access to safe water must also be accompanied by efforts to ensure the quality of drinking water. Water quality monitoring and house water treatment and safe storage are critical interventions that aim to reduce the risk of contamination of water supplies.
The prevalence of open defecation in rural areas is estimated as 56%. Poor hygiene and sanitation practices are major causes of diseases such as cholera among children and women. With only 25 % of the population having access to improved sanitation, empowering communities to take action for their own sanitation needs, as well as supporting schools and health facilities to provide essential sanitary facilities, are priority Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions.


  • Thousands of Somali people lack access to improved drinking water. The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program defines an improved drinking water source as “one that, by nature of its construction or through active intervention, is protected from outside contamination, in particular from contamination with faucal matter.”
  • About half of the populations without access to improved drinking water are in South Somalia.

Why sanitation?

A number of rigorous studies over the past two decades have confirmed that a large proportion of child deaths are preventable through basic WASH interventions. However, these studies also make it clear that such interventions must be implemented in an integrated way, not as stand-alone projects, or the impact will be muted.
For example, the net impact on diarrheal deaths among children younger than 5 of providing access to safe water is only 3% to 5% if unaccompanied by other interventions, whereas providing access to effective sanitation reduces such deaths by 5 percent to 10 percent (latrines) up to 20 percent (flush toilets).
The impact of safe water is multiplied many times over by combining it with improved sanitation in the same location—the median reduction in all-cause child deaths when the two are joined is 55%. This is because access to clean water is a prerequisite to maximize the health impacts of sanitation, and effective sanitation is a prerequisite to maximize the health impacts of safe water.


  • 4 billion people (about one-third of the global population) lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines. Of these, 946 million defecate in the open.
  • Currently, 68% of the global population now uses an improved sanitation facility.
  • More than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal
  • Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrheal diseases
  • Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 280 000 diarrheal deaths annually and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma. Poor sanitation also contributes to malnutrition.
  • Sustainable Development Goal 6 includes an ambitious but achievable target for sanitation: “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.”

Why hygiene?

Hygiene is a critical component to effective, sustainable WASH. If water is clean at the source and toilets exist in the community, their effectiveness only goes so far if community members do not practice effective hygiene behaviors to ensure that water stays clean until it is consumed, that all human faces are hygienically disposed, and that personal hygiene is practiced to safeguard individual and community health.


  • Unsafe drinking water, inadequate availability of water for hygiene, and lack of access to sanitation together contribute to about 88% of deaths from diarrheal diseases.
  • The simple act of washing hands at critical times can reduce the number of diarrhea cases by as much as 35%.
  • A lack of menstrual hygiene support for adolescent girls has a significant impact on school attendance. For instance, in Ghana, girls miss up to 5 days of school per month attributed to inadequate sanitation facilities and the lack of sanitary products at school as well as physical discomfort due to menstruation. In fact, due to poor sanitation facilities 95% of girls in Ghana have missed school when menstruating.
  • Women who give birth in unsanitary conditions are at a threefold increased risk of maternal mortality in both home and facility births.

Education is a basic human right of every child. It’salso a vital aspect of our work at PACDA.The gap widens as these children become older, with only 22 per cent of refugee adolescents attending secondary school compared to a global average of 84 per cent. At the highereducation level, less than one per cent of refugees attend university, compared to 34 per cent at global level.
Access to education for this marginalized group is limited. More than half, 3.7 million, have no school to go to. Some 1.75 million refugee children are not in primary school and 1.95 million refugee adolescents are not in secondary school.
Without the chance to study, an entire generation is at risk.In times of displacement, education is crucial. It can foster social cohesion, provide access to life-saving information, address psychosocial needs, and offer a stable and safe environment for those who need it most. It also helps people to rebuild their communities and pursue productive, meaningful lives.

We partner with governments and international organizations to ensure quality and protective education for refugee children and young people everywhere, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Our Goal

  • Children read, write and use numeracy skills
  • Children make good judgements, can protect themselves, manage their emotions and communicate ideas
  • Adolescents are ready for economic opportunity
  • Children can access and complete education
  • Teachers know how to make learning effective and fun
  • Parents are equipped to help their children learn in the home
  • Community volunteers are trained to host after-school activities
  • Whole communities get the opportunity to create learning materials for children that reflect their traditions, values and language

Together, with your help, they can rebuild.