Volunteer in Water Projects Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Clean Water Projects

Water is one of the most basic human needs. According to some estimates over 780 million people across the world do not have access to clean water, while approximately 2.5 billion lack access to proper sanitation; the scarcity of this most fundamental resource results in around seven million deaths annually. Demand for volunteers is high in all types of water programs, including construction, engineering, administration, marketing, and project coordination and implementation. You can improve lives across the globe by volunteering abroad in clean water projects. Though this type of volunteer work can be incredibly challenging, the benefits you will provide to communities are incalculable.

Why Volunteer Abroad

If you’re looking to truly make a difference during your time abroad, there are few placements that can compare to volunteering in clean water projects. Millions of people in Africa, South America, and Asia spend a large majority of their lives focused on obtaining clean water for their families. Unfortunately, in most developing communities there is an immense lack of education and resources needed to create sanitary living conditions. By contributing to clean water projects abroad, you will be creating a better future for generations in the community you work.

Did you know that close to a million people die each year from water related diseases? Every year in Africa, deficiencies in water and cleanliness kill more people than HIV! Volunteering abroad in clean water projects can help decrease these staggering numbers and improve the overall quality of life for numerous families and communities.

Not only will you save lives and improve living conditions through your volunteer work, you will also receive valuable hands-on training in a variety of professional fields, which can easily translate into your future career. You can gain experience working with NGOs, coordinating and marketing water campaigns, fundraising, or even engineering construction projects or water systems.

Volunteering in clean water projects abroad will illustrate that you have an incredible passion and determination for making the world a better place. This kind of drive can set your resume apart by showcasing your international experience and humanitarian spirit.

Locations

It is possible to volunteer in clean water projects all over the world; but some of areas with the most urgent needs, and therefore largest number of water volunteer opportunities, are located in India, Uganda, Cambodia, and Nicaragua.

India. With over 1.2 billion people, finding clean water in India is difficult to say the least, and the population is still growing. Many cities in India lack proper waste management programs, resulting in sewage backups and contamination of water sources. Those in rural areas (about 70 percent of the population) often have no bathrooms, or usage rates are low. Additionally, handwashing is not a common practice in most villages. These issues mean that something as simple as diarrhea can kill over 1,500 people a day in India. Some forms of manufacturing have even slowed, as companies scramble to secure enough water to operate. Volunteers are needed to help implement sanitation and environmental projects in India, to educate the public, teach hygienic practices, and so much more. It is possible to volunteer in water projects almost anywhere in the country, including both rural areas and big cities, like Delhi, Bangalore, and Calcutta.

Uganda. Like much of Africa, a large portion of Ugandans lack access to clean and/or piped water. Though the situation has improved over the past decade, new immigration and a growing population has put pressure on the resources already in place. Since the price for accessing clean water is becoming so high, many communities use local streams and wells as a more affordable alternative. But these sources are easily contaminated, resulting in cholera and dysentery breakouts. Water project volunteers are needed in several regions of Uganda, especially in Kampala and the surrounding areas.

Cambodia. This lesser traveled Southeast Asian nation collects much of its drinking water from rainfall during monsoon season. Unfortunately, the inadequate storage process used for rainwater collection attracts mosquitos and can breed parasites, often causing the spread of disease. Access to treatment and water purification in Cambodia is expensive, and therefore, almost half of Cambodia’s 15 million citizens have no source of clean water. Do to the lack of recycling and sanitation programs in Cambodia, there is trash everywhere (such as plastic bags), which means that toxins seep into the ground and cause additional contamination of water sources. Despite extreme amounts of rainfall during rainy season, there are no proper drainage systems in place in Cambodia to accommodate excess water levels, which complicates the situation further, causing muddy roads which make transport dangerous at the very least. Volunteers who want to volunteer in clean water projects in Cambodia should consider Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the nation’s two largest cities.    

Nicaragua. While its neighbor to the South, Costa Rica, has enjoyed increased development in recent decades, the primarily agricultural nation of Nicaragua is just recently becoming a desirable tourist destination. The country is still one of the poorest in the region, but has one of the highest growth rates. Due to improper waste disposal, much of the surface water is unusable and undeveloped. In many places there are no water management or transportation systems in place, and deforestation throughout the country is also contributing greatly to water issues. Major cities have better access, but volunteers are still needed everywhere, especially in the rural areas East of Matagalpa and the island of Ometepe.

Clean Water Projects Abroad

Since there are so many processes involved in bringing clean water and sanitation to the masses, volunteers can choose among any number of volunteer placements, including construction and engineering, marketing, fundraising, and community outreach, or even medicine and public health.

Construction & Engineering. The digging must be done. The pipes must be laid. The design must be effective. Both of these fields are fundamental in creating a working water system. Building materials, transportation costs, and repairs all have to be considered and managed. Much of this type of volunteer work requires physical labor, in sometimes extremely conditions Volunteers working on the construction or engineering components of clean water projects abroad should be well prepared for these conditions upon arrival.

Awareness Raising & Outreach. This is an essential element of any clean water project abroad. The importance of marketing, public awareness raising and education, community outreach, and fundraising for a cause cannot be expressed enough; these are the drivers that make change possible. Volunteers who choose these types of placements can expect to coordinate events, monitor and evaluate projects, write newsletters and press releases, and manage overall publicity of clean water projects.

Public Health. Unsafe sanitation practices and the spread of preventable diseases are a large part of the global water crisis. Therefore, volunteers are needed to help educate the public, teach basic hygiene skills, test wells and other water sources, and provide affordable treatment to those in need. This may be an especially good placement for those with any medical and public health, biology, or teaching background.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Save Lives. That is the bottom line. Clean water projects abroad help people survive and live better, safer lives. Water project volunteers can help people understand the effects of using unsafe water and teach them how to help prevent the spread of germs and disease. It may seem like common sense to many, but those who lack the education and resources to make clean water possible suffer horrible consequences around the world. No doubt, volunteers brave enough to join the fight for clean water will be heroes to those they serve.

Gain Professional Experience. Clean water is no small campaign, and by no means a useless enterprise. Bringing clean water and clean environmental practices to the world is one of the largest movements on the planet, and also one that is the most difficult to progress. Your participation as a volunteer in clean water projects abroad will give you the real world skills needed to organize, coordinate, and deliver a project. Volunteering abroad in clean water projects can also provide incredible networking opportunities, as well as the chance to increase your knowledge of a new language and culture.

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Clean Water Projects

READ ARTICLE

 Find Water Projects Volunteer Programs Abroad Now

Save

This listing has been saved 21 times

International Volunteer HQ

International Volunteer HQ has a wide range of volunteering opportunities available in working with children placements, sports programs, environmental placements, Carnaval program, teaching English placements, arts placements and community development projects. *BRAZIL SPORTS PROGRAM Sport has become vital for Rio's lowest income communities, as they provide children and adolescents with r...

Save

This listing has been saved 5 times

GoEco - Top Volunteer Organization

As a volunteer on this diverse project, you will be living on a private island in Belize while working for marine conservation! Volunteers can learn to dive or enhance their skills during their time on the island. This project is categorized into three main areas of focus of marine conservation. 1- Volunteers will be engaging in invasive species tasks, such as the hunting and eradication of ...

Save

This listing has been saved 2 times

Volunteer on Construction Projects in Nepal

Discover the vast and fascinating continent of Asia while you get involved in community construction projects in the landlocked and mountain-dominated landscape of Nepal. Depending on the needs on the ground at any given time, you will work alongside community members to help deliver basic needs such as water security initiatives or renovating schools to establish suitable learning environme...

Save

This listing has been saved 33 times

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad arranges customized group service-learning trips for schools, universities, companies, and other organizations. With hundreds of projects to choose from in over 30 countries, we will tailor your trip to the individual needs of your group and guide you every step of the way. You chose the dates, location, project focus, and goals. With over 600 staff working for Projects A...

Save

This listing has been saved 8 times

Kaya Responsible Travel

Kaya Responsible Travel offers volunteering opportunities in Maasai Mara, Kenya, in a lion and wildlife research and conservation project. Volunteers will be trained in consistent and accurate collection of data in the Naibosho Conservation area, including how to conduct regular censuses of the wild animal population. Volunteers will also assist with data collection during the Great Migration, ...

Save

This listing has been saved 12 times

Connect-123 Internship & Volunteer Programs

As China continues to go through a period of rapid economic growth, issues like pollution and how to create a more sustainable society grow as well. By volunteering through Connect-123's environment and sustainable development volunteer programs, participants can work in a variety of different fields, including environmental engineering, urban planning, and job creation. Program participants al...

Save

This listing has been saved 13 times

Volunteer in Oaxaca, Mexico - Adelante Abroad

Make a positive impact in Mexico! Adelante Abroad offers affordable volunteer programs in a wide variety of fields and sectors in Oaxaca, Mexico including ecology internships and social work internships abroad. Oaxaca is one of the most bio-diverse areas in Mexico, known for the craft-work of local artisans. It is also home to warm spirited people and there are plenty of opportunities to give...

Save

This listing has been saved 131 times

Intern & Volunteer Abroad: from USD180

CrossContinental offers affordable intern abroad, volunteer abroad, culture/language immersion programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Gain hands-on experience, improve your resume, enhance cultural understanding, and build global network. Stay with a host family for culture and language immersion.

Save

This listing has been saved 68 times

ELI Abroad

Established in 1979, Machalilla National Park covers more than 60,000 acres, encompassing the islands of La Plata and Salango, Playa Los Frailes, wet lands, dry forests, and fog forests. About 20,000 of these acres are the adjacent ocean, including the coral reef off of the coast. It’s a truly stunning landscape along Ecuador’s Pacific Coast. The ocean region of the park is a particularly ...

Save

This listing has been saved 14 times

Volunteering Journeys

Join our Teaching English in Sri Lanka program, a volunteering opportunity that offers you numerous enriching options: working in local government schools, helping out in local community centers within villages affected by tsunami, and teaching Buddhist monks in monastery schools. Your tasks depend mostly on your placement, ranging from assisting local teachers with English teaching to educ...

Save

This listing has been saved 30 times

Frontier

As one of the top whale and dolphin watching destinations in the world, the southwest coast of Tenerife is a truly outstanding location for the observation of free-living whales. There are resident communities of pilot whales and dolphins which remain here throughout the year, which can be observed in perhaps 80% of the days of the year. This project will give you the perfect opportunity to ...

Save

This listing has been saved 5 times

Discover Thailand

The Bamboo Project is inviting you to join a tour that is ideal for those who want to embrace Thai culture through volunteer work, cultural exchange, exploration, and adventure, ensuring you have a great time. The tour will have you experiencing the beautiful beach backdrops, ancient temples, mountainous lush hill tribes, and bustling city streets. Bamboo-GVN works toward the goal of creating t...

Save

This listing has been saved 6 times

Global Volunteers

Here's a place to roll up your sleeves and make a difference - in just one to two weeks! Couples, families and groups of students, alumni and employees are encouraged to serve together to contribute to community service projects in Monteverde region. Global Volunteers has maintained a working relationship with village leaders since 1992, so you can be assured you're accepted as a member of the ...

Save

This listing has been saved 28 times

ISA (International Studies Abroad)

Lima, the capital of Peru, is located on the west coast of the Pacific along the Rímac River. Lima is a large, international city balancing both traditional and modern influences. The traditional influences evolved from Peru's history as the home of the Inca and numerous other civilized cultures, dating back as far as 2000 BC. ISA Service-Learning opportunities vary from rehabilitating marine ...