Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

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Photo by Kumar Tamang for CRS

About Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)


CRS delivers comprehensive and integrated climate resilient WASH package in development and humanitarian contexts in a gender-responsive and equitable way that responds to the immediate- and longer- term needs of the people we serve. CRS work towards universal, equitable and sustainable access to safe and affordable WASH services based on progressive realization along the service ladder in support of achieving U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 6. Our WASH programs contribute to achieving multisectoral outcomes in nutrition, health, shelter, livelihoods, food security and good governance. CRS emphasis WASH sustainability and systems strengthening by promoting market-based interventions and social behavior change, community participation and local leadership, government and private sector engagement.

In Amsoudou community, students go to a school that Catholic Relief Services' PASAM-TAI project has upgraded with better hygienic facilities, like latrines and hand-washing stations, which have helped improve the students' health. Photo by Michael Stulman for CRS

CRS takes a disaster risk approach to providing life saving equity focused and gender responsive WASH services to affected populations in humanitarian situations, and in development context, a multi-sectoral approach is used to provide WASH services to people living in communities and institutions (schools and healthcare facilities). Our sanitation interventions include safe management of human excreta, wastewater, vector control and solid waste management.



CRS collaborates with local partners to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations, including women and girls and people with disabilities.

In development context, CRS:

  1. Works with local partners to strength systems for WASH services using the Agenda for Change Building Blocks, deploying water security, and migration lenses, adopting integrated program and sector approaches, and mainstreaming gender and equity.

  2. Work is guided by sector guidance documents such as USAID Technical Briefs on WASH, Sanitation and Water for All Tools, and Agenda for Change Systems Strengthening Tools, CRS Vision 2030 Agency Strategy, CRS Compass, CRS ProPack, Technical Application Guidance.

  3. Installs appropriate and sustainable infrastructure and services; strengthens local and community water resources WASH knowledge and management capacity by government and support systems strengthening, improved governance and coordination across sectors, government policies, strategies and plans related to water security.

Nery García and his son Elías from El Ciprés community, Opatoro, is one of the families benefited by RAICES DRR project, averting in many Honduran homes a humanitarian crisis caused by a severe drough. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

In humanitarian context CRS:

  1. Aligns interventions with Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability, the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, CRS’ protection mainstreaming guidelines, CRS’ minimum standards for mainstreaming gender equality, global/national WASH cluster standards, and local codes and regulations.

  2. We mainstream disaster risk reduction approaches within multi-sectoral preparedness plans develop climate resilient WASH solutions.

  3. We play a key role in WASH cluster and sector coordination and accountability mechanisms and work with affected populations, in program design and implementation to address needs and avoid possible negative unintended consequences of our actions.