Vulnerable urban communities in developing economies are at severe risk from the Covid-19 pandemic.

High population density, poor hygiene conditions and weak national health infrastructure mean that outbreaks in low-income communities could be catastrophic.

WSUP is providing urgent support to the most vulnerable communities through hygiene promotion, emergency water access and handwashing stations.

Find out more about WSUP’s work with UK Aid and Unilever to fight Covid-19.

Alongside these short-term measures WSUP is also focusing on the long-term availability of water supplies, particularly for the poorest in cities. This includes strengthening utilities and encouraging service providers to work with communities to improve water access.

Donate now to support WSUP's work bringing clean water, sanitation and hygiene to people who need it most


We have a duty to the communities where we work to consider ways in which we can assist them to improve hygiene.

Neil Jeffery
Neil Jeffery, CEOWater & Sanitation for the Urban Poor

Read more from our CEO


How we’re responding to Covid-19

The importance of good hygiene practices post Covid-19 restrictions

Hygiene practices that were promoted during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic have given people additional protection. But as restrictions are lifted in many countries with low vaccination rates, these hygiene practices will need to be maintained to keep the virus at bay.

April 2022: As Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, hygiene practices remain essential

Building urban resilience in the face of Covid-19

WSUP with the support of the Hygiene & Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) – a UK government and Unilever initiative – delivered a rapid customer focused communication hygiene campaign, to combat the spread of Covid-19 across 10 cities in Ghana and Kenya.

July 2021: Building urban resilience in the face of Covid-19: new video shows our hygiene work in Ghana and Kenya

At the epicentre of the Covid-19 crisis

We spoke to those on the frontline of Covid-19 in urban areas in Madagascar and Kenya about how they’ve responded to the pandemic and the renewed importance of WASH in protecting low-income communities.

October 2020: “This crisis has helped us to strengthen the collaboration between departments within the city”

September 2020: At the epicentre of the crisis: battling to provide clean water in Kenya

Mombasa city landscape

How can the global WASH sector respond better in future crises?

Despite praiseworthy responses by WASH service institutions, this epidemic has made us realise that we do not have the right mechanisms for any form of emergencies in the sector. We now need to envision what could have been done to better prepare for such circumstances.

February 2021: Weaknesses in water, sanitation and hygiene systems exposed by pandemic, say experts

May 2020: How can the global WASH sector respond better in future crises?

CS Water Inspects handwashing points

Fighting Covid-19 sustainably: four steps to creating water solutions that will last

Universal water coverage is not a luxury: it is an essential part of keeping people safe. Governments in the Global South need to look to the long term and create water access in informal settlements that will be sustainable for years to come, protecting against future pandemics or a second wave of Covid-19.

May 2020: Four steps to creating water solutions that will last

Mtendere East water point

Covid-19 and crowded urban settlements: how can we stop the spread?

For the one billion people living in informal urban settlements in the Global South, the spread of coronavirus poses an imminent threat that could prove catastrophic.

Read more about WSUP’s five priorities for tackling coronavirus in the communities where we work.

April 2020: How can we stop the spread  of Covid-19 in informal settlements?

Handwashing station in Accra, Ghana

Reducing spread of diseases in urban areas

WSUP’s long-term work to build stronger water, sanitation and hygiene systems is  vital part of helping people lead healthier lives and making developing country economies more resilient to health threats.

Read more about how WSUP’s work drives stronger health outcomes.

Children by polluted river