Water+ programming has an extensive reach at CARE - as of 2013, there are 127 projects with water-related activities in 40 countries. Last year, CARE helped more than 3.3 million people access safe drinking water and sanitation, use water for improved food security, develop sustainable water management practices and/or improve hygiene practices. Additionally, CARE has facilitated access to safe drinking water for 1.3 million people affected by emergencies by constructing water sources, improving hygiene practices and distributing hygiene kits.

All our Water+ work falls into two categories: Sustainable WASH systems and Water Smart Agriculture.

What is Water Smart Agriculture?

CARE has coined the term Water Smart Agriculture (WaSA). Why? Because food security in part depends on increased production of smallholder farmers and water is a key agricultural constraint. There will never be more water than there is now. Below is an example of what WaSA looks like in practice:
Impact Growth Strategy Southern Africa_7 minute pitch_Page_06.jpg

See this PDF for more info on WaSA. More information can also be found here.

Below is a link to some of CARE's drought resilience work in Honduras.

The following are programs implemented with oversight from the CARE Water+ Team:

Integrated NTD Project

This project in Ethiopia, funded by Johnson&Johnson works with government, religious and community leaders to integrate WASH and NTD work in schools and communities for reductions in trachoma, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths.

Lowlands WASH Project

The Lowlands WASH project in Ethiopia partners with government to 1) expand water access to (mostly) pastoral populations 2) increase latrine coverage and improve hygiene behaviors and 3) address natural resource management.

Kenya RAPID Project

The Kenya RAPID project, a collaboration of multiple public, private and NGO partners, works in arid and semi-arid lands in Kenya to increase sustainable access to water for people and livestock and to improve rangeland management.

USAID Nutrition and Hygiene Project

The project integrates nutrition-specific and WASH interventions in the health and community sectors and nutrition-sensitive interventions in the agricultural sector. See a CARE brief of the project and a USAID brief below.


ken_2012_bb_9232.jpgIn its first phase, the Sustaining School Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Plus Community Impact (SWASH+) Project addressed the problems of safe water access, insufficient sanitation, and inadequate hygiene in schools in Kenya. The project began in September 2006 and used randomized controlled trials to test various combinations of school WASH improvements in 185 schools and their communities in Nyanza Province. The interventions included water provision through boreholes and rainwater harvesting, improved latrines and safe water systems (storage containers and water treatment supplies). In addition, staff trained teachers and students on how to use and maintain their WASH improvements. Research findings and other materials from SWASH+ are available at

Research from the second phase of SWASH+ can be found here. SWASH+ II builds on prior research to improve the sustainability and effectiveness of school water, sanitation and hygiene at scale in order to support the Government of Kenya’s Comprehensive School Health Policy. The project aims to streamline the "policy challenge-learning-policy change" cycle by including government agencies, civil society and learning partners directly within the project steering committee. Though promoting the sustainability and effectiveness of school WASH is the primary goal of the project, a secondary goal of the program will be to lay the foundation for a potential longer term partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Find a brief of the most recent SWASH+ meeting (April 2017) here.

Past Projects

WASHplus Mali

The WASHplus project supported healthy households and communities by creating and delivering interventions that lead to improvements in WASH and household air pollution (HAP). This five-year project (2010-2015), funded through USAID’s Bureau for Global Health and led by FHI360 in partnership with CARE and Winrock International, used at-scale programming approaches to reduce diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections, the two top killers of children under age 5 globally. This brief discusses WASH and Nutrition technical approaches.

Haraad Reeb

Haraad Reeb was implemented by CARE Somalia - with the Somaliland Ministry of Water Resources as the main local partner. Funding by BMZ Germany, with the goal of contributing to drought resilience and recovery, the project took place form October 2013 - April 2016. This brief presents some of the findings from the final evaluation.

WASHplus CARE overview

WASHplus was implemented by CARE in Zambia and Mali, in partnership with USAID and others, from 2010-2016.


LEGAS WASH was a project in Ethiopia that ran from 2011-2015.

HAUPA: Mozambique

MOZ-2008-SB-003.jpgIn 2004, CARE began the Productive Uses of Water Project (known by the Portuguese acronym, HAUPA) in the two Northern provinces of Mozambique, Cabo Delgado and Nampula. Since that time, over 500,000 people living in rural areas have improved access to water and sanitation through a variety of community-selected technologies such as boreholes, rainwater catchment systems, small dams, piped systems, and ecologically sound latrines. CARE began by engaging local and provincial governments and community members to form Maintenance Groups* and networks of local nonprofit and private sector groups involved in parts commercialization to ensure equal voices of all stakeholders in the planning stages, a network of project contributors during implementation, and a foundation for sustainability and expansion of the water and latrine points after the completion of the project. In the past, poor quality construction, high maintenance costs, and lack of clarity over who is responsible for maintaining and repairing water systems has resulted in a preponderance of defunct water points. By beginning with community engagement and utilization of local artisans for the design of the water and sanitation infrastructure as well as presenting the community with options for multiple-use water systems that can not only improve the quality of their drinking water but also increase their household income through irrigation for crops and rainwater catchment that provides water for poultry and livestock, HAUPA facilitates community ownership in the water and sanitation infrastructure, both financially and conceptually.

When planning the technology for HAUPA with local artisans, CARE works with the needs of the most vulnerable groups, often people living with HIV/AIDS, women, and children, in mind. In part due to the decentralization of the Mozambican government, rural communities are often left off the main water systems and instead rely on free but unprotected water sources. HAUPA strives not only to assist those communities in the project area, but to also spark a paradigm shift in water delivery in Mozambique. Namely, to promote water and sanitation access to the most marginalized communities in Mozambique through community-led and financed water projects designed and produced by the people who will be using, maintaining, and replicating the safe water systems.

*Maintenance Groups are community associations that operate, maintain, and repair water and sanitation infrastructure within the project area.

The Global Water Initiative

The Global Water Initiative is a global collaborative program funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which in its first phase, helped poor rural communities obtain access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene within an IWRM framework, while safeguarding their environment. GWI has been operational in three regions - East Africa, West Africa and Central America. GWI East Africa has been running since October 2007 in Ethiopia, Kenya and ; and in Tanzania since October 2008. In the first phase, the partnership in East Africa assisted about 306,533 people to gain access to an improved water source and 153,545 households and school children to gain access to safe sanitation facilities. Our work on the other aspects of IWRM such as multiple uses of water, risk management, governance, etc. have also recorded encouraging results.

Operational as of October 2012, GWI Phase 2 involves a shift from WASH within a IWRM framework to Water for Agriculture. The theory of change of GWI 2 in East Africa is that food security can be enhanced through information flow at different levels and increased pressure on policy makers from both insiders and outsiders, resulting in smart investments in water for agriculture for smallholders, especially women farmers. Activities have begun in Tanzania and Uganda, and Ethiopia will be added in the second year, subject to approval from the Ethiopian Government. GWI 2 will not have specific activities in Kenya but will maintain a regional link and draw on experiences and learning regionally.

Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP)

Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) is a not-for-profit partnership between development NGOs (including CARE International), the private sector and academia. It offers a new approach to the challenge of urban water and sanitation by working as an implementing partner to Local Service Providers (LSPs) including utilities, municipalities and small independent providers to achieve practical, sustainable and scalable solutions.

Public_Tapstand,_Antananarivo,_Madagascar.JPGWSUP strengthens the capacity of LSPs to provide sustainable water and sanitation services, promote good hygiene and raise the health and environmental standards of the community. This support is providing insight and resources to the challenges which partners are facing and which, without WSUP’s support, are preventing services being delivered to the urban poor in a sustainable and replicable way.

As of January 2013, WSUP programs in Africa and South Asia has enabled improved access to safe, affordable water for 778,000 people, improved sanitation for 125,000 and improved hygiene for 1,117,000 people. WSUP has strengthened the capacity of LSPs and has contributed to the development of institutional processes and policies that improve the lives of the urban poor.

WSUP is owned and governed by its Members. As a multi-sector partnership, each WSUP Member brings a unique range of skills and knowledge to the design and delivery of programmes. While each organisation is recognised as an expert in their field, WSUP brings together their skills and resources to find innovative and lasting solutions. Each Member benefits from working in partnership with others, learning new skills and approaches from a variety of different sectors.

As a Member of WSUP, in-country CARE offices are supporting the components of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in Antananarivo (Madagascar), Maputo (Mozambique), Kumasi (Ghana), Lusaka (Zambia) and Dhaka (Bangladesh).

CARE US are providing senior technical advice on the delivery of a large scale USAID funded programme and CARE UK have been involved in the partnership from the beginning through financing from DfID.

Our membership of WSUP provides us with insight and experience of working with other organisations more familiar with such aspects as reducing leakages in urban water networks, helping water utilities to model the financial implications of extending their systems to informal settlements and how to improve the environmental conditions of slums.

CARE has, in turn, influenced the other members of WSUP to adopt approaches that integrate water, sanitation and hygiene, are community based and inclusive. CARE’s engagement with WSUP will also enable a more coordinated approach to promote pro-poor urban service delivery approach, focussing on utilities and regulators.

For more information on the USAID funded programme see the following report:

For further information about WSUP, please visit their website