WASH Statistics

The WASH team coordinates emergency and developmental WASH activities to serve the most vulnerable and both directly and remotely works through and with our National Societies and in partership with other organisatons.

In emergency WASH we have global tools (such as RDRT, NDRT, ERUs and FACT) which together with experienced and trained human resources down to national and sub-national level regularly respond to disasters and crises.

In developmental WASH our platform is the Global Water and Sanitation Initiative (GWSI). This initiative continues to further establish large-scale, long-term sustainable water and sanitation programmes in contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.

What we do
On average over 3,5 million people reached per year with WASH services (emergency and developmental)

For development WASH, 106 National Societies with 500 Projects in 80 Countries

Over 100 emergency operations with WASH component per year

Data Tables

These are the mapping tables from which the statistics in this page have been gathered.
Emergency Mapping 2004-11
Emergency Mapping 2012-15
Summary Graphs Emergency Operations
GWSI Project Mapping (2005-2014)
GWSI Mapping Analysis

(We support fair use of this data but request acknowledgement of the IFRC).

Here is an overview and selection of graphs and tables made from the data gathered.

WASH Emergency Response

In the last 10 years the IFRC has, through emergency appeals and the DREF mechanism, supported its member National Societies to conduct 621 emergency operations in 140 countries, reaching over 21 million people with WASH activities.

On average our emergency projects help over 1.8 million people per year.

Relationships Found

The data gathered showed some interesting relationships between operation size, cost per beneficiary and percentage of total beneficiaries, as the following graphs will demonstrate.

Essentially, the vast majority of beneficiaries reached by WASH projects are reached within large scale emergency projects over 50,000 beneficiaries. However, these operations make up a significantly smaller percentage of total operations than those dealing with smaller numbers of people. Clearly, we need to be prepared for both.



As well as this a clear relationship was found to demonstrate the economies of scale that can be enjoyed as the number of beneficiaries increases, i.e as the number of beneficiaries increases the cost per beneficiary decreases. We have work to do to ensure our smaller operations are more cost effective.


WatSan Expenditure Against Beneficiaries



Regional Impact

By far the largest recipient region of WatSan projects is Africa. That being said, often the projects in Africa are small scale community projects. So the number of people reached may not always be as high as expected. The graph below represents total appeals from 2004-2015.


Global Water and Sanitation Initiative

To date, 106 National Societies are supporting and implementing over 500 long term water and sanitation projects in 80 countries.
we have reached 20 million people with developmental sustainable WASH services since 2005 and our target is to reach an accumulated total of 40 million people by 2025.

Key Figures

Analysis of the mapping data collected on GWSI projects shows that 13.4 million people have been served with a water and/or sanitation intervention and a further 6.5 million with hygiene promotion activities (by March 2014). However this has increased in the interim and we projected that we have reached over 20 million people served with a water, sanitation and and hygiene promotion activities by end of 2017 and activities still continue.

Project Size

From the graph below we can see that the majority of GWSI projects reach over 20,000 beneficiaries, the average per project being 28,155. This is an improvement from the last mapping exercise and is something we encourage as the larger projects typically enjoy economies of scale meaning that overhead costs per beneficiary are lower than those for smaller projects.

On average these projects last 3.3 years however doners and some WASH actors are increasingly advocating for a minimun of 4 to 5 years as we also do and endorse.

Multilateral vs Bilateral

These graphs show that while bilateral projects (National Society led) reach a larger number of people overall, multilateral projects
(Federation led) reach a larger number of people per project, with the figures being an average of 26,264 beneficiaries per bilateral project compared with 37,656 beneficiaries per multilateral project. This suggests that multilateral projects may offer better cost-effectiveness, assuming larger projects (which tend to be multilateral) have lower proportional overhead costs.


We are improving the collection of data and analysis of impact and sustainability of GWSI projects by encouraging post-project evaluations such as the “look back” studies.

A note on WASH infrastructure sustainability – we are using the target if 70% sustainability after a minimum of five to ten years (interesting to note that DfiD is using a similar benchmark) as a measure of success. This target however may only realistically apply to the rural context where we normally have large numbers of small scale interventions – the same may not apply to urban contexts.