School children in Gilgit, Pakistan use a hands-free handwashing station installed by AKAH. In the context …


Students develop healthy hygiene protocols for their home and school as part of AKAH’s WASH behaviour change …


Since 1997, AKAH’s Water and Sanitation Extension Programme has worked to improve access to safe drinking …


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A student presenting her group’s thoughts on hygiene protocols to be followed in her school during a WASH training session conducted by AKAH in Pakistan.


Community-Managed WASH Infrastructure

Through our flagship Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP) we are working to build resilient, community-managed WASH infrastructure. Initiated in 1997 to expand water supply in rural areas in northern Pakistan, we have expanded the model to urban and rural settings across our countries of operation including in Afghanistan with the support of PATRIP Foundation and Tajikistan with the support of the SDC and USAID.

WASEP provides water supply and sanitation infrastructure services to local communities and helps prevent water-borne diseases by promoting improved hygiene and sanitation practices. Our technical experts and engineers design the systems and specialise in solutions to provide reliable access to services in remote mountain areas with harsh winters. We provide non-local materials, skilled labour, training, and health and hygiene education.

 In Gujarat, India, villagers learn that proper handwashing can prevent illness and disease.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Sanitation and Waste Management

In India, we have been implementing a comprehensive Environmental Health Improvement programme, focusing on water and sanitation. since 1995. We often work with government initiatives including the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission). In particular we work with communities to build and improve sanitation facilities and promote better hygiene behaviours in homes.

We promote adapted designs and on-site technical assistance for sustainable construction and use of sanitation facilities integrating water conservation, hygiene behaviour change campaigns and waste management. We have built over 60,000 sanitation systems.

School sanitation is another key focus area and we reach more than one million people through school and community hygiene programmes in India.

Building on this experience, we are expanding our community-led sanitation programmes across all our countries of operation, integrating solid waste management initiatives promoting sorting, recycling and reuse. We have developed a compendium of technical solutions for rural and urban sanitation to promote wider adoption of new technologies and efficient decentralised system solutions across India and beyond.

Children using a drinking water station constructed in their school by AKAH Pakistan with support from the European Union.


Enhancing Water Security and Resilience

To address long-term water security, we are working with communities to map and model water resources, introduce water conservation and recharge measures, and strengthen water management and governance. We apply nature-based solutions using tree plantation for water conservation and wastewater treatment to build resilience and combat climate change.

In Syria, as part of our humanitarian assistance programming, we are working with communities on community-led tree plantation efforts to prevent desertification, enhance water tables and mitigate climate change.

In Pakistan and India, we are using bio-filtering measures such as tree plantation to filter wastewater and support healthy micro-ecosystems and wastewater recycling at village and community level drainage systems, as part of our water supply and sanitation infrastructure schemes.

In northern Pakistan, AKAH constructs and upgrades climate- and disaster-resilient water supply systems in mountain villages and towns.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer 

Data and Water Governance

Access to information on water resources is critical to promoting conservation and better management. Communities cannot conserve and manage what they cannot estimate, measure or visualise themselves.

We are working on innovative initiatives to collect and expand access to data on surface-water and groundwater resources – quality, availability, recharge, future forecasts, scenarios, etc – to provide actionable information and empower users to make informed decisions for better management of water resources.

In India we are developing an innovative digital app to create a real-time database on surface-water and groundwater resources, combining data from multiple sources including our direct field surveys, data submitted by community members through the app and analysis of future scenarios. Our goal is to give water users access to data to promote awareness and participation in monitoring, managing and conserving scarce water resources. We are testing this tool in 65 villages with a population of over 200,000 in four districts of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

In Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh we also conduct community-led water budgeting exercises to educate and create awareness on water management and usage practices, along with geo-hydrological and flood plain studies, to help users trace the pattern of water movement from catchments to point of usage.

In Syria, as part of our long-term humanitarian relief activities, we are undertaking an integrated water resource management study developing a groundwater modelling system for the Salamieh water basin to evaluate water resources and aquifer systems, model future scenarios and inform sustainable water management strategies to cope with water shortages and recharge water resources.

Water Conservation and Groundwater Recharge

To improve longer-term water security, we work with communities to introduce measures to conserve water and recharge water resources. We promote water conservation through behaviour change and awareness activities in schools and communities. We are also working with communities to implement rainwater harvesting and recharge structures.

In Syria we are promoting community-led rainwater harvesting systems at the household level, as part of our humanitarian relief efforts. In India, in addition to promoting household, school and community-level rainwater harvesting solutions in rural and urban areas, we are implementing structural measures and environmentally sustainable solutions such as underground bunds. These recharge groundwater sources and retain more surface water in the soil, improving soil quality.

Such systems require minimal maintenance and will improve water security sustainably over time as they promote natural groundwater recharge.