Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 6, Adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, aims to ensure everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The Aga Khan Development Network is a pioneer in water sanitation and hygiene programs, which help improve the health and quality of life for communities across the countries we work in. Improving sanitation goes beyond building toilets and wells; it requires fully engaged communities who change longstanding habits. By working hand-in-hand with local communities and our partners, AKDN develops programs that make long-lasting change.


Who lack any sanitation facilities worldwide.

120million toilets

The government of India aims to build by 2019.


The number of people AKDN helps access safe drinking water, sanitation, and sewage facilities.

“At the beginning many of them think that it will be expensive and is not that important—but I tell them about my experience and how it’s made our lives much better.”

Gauri’s Story

In 2014, the government of India set an ambitious target: eliminate defecation in the open by 2019. Gauri Behen is a village health worker in Nathej village in Gujarat. She is a dalit and has three daughters, her eldest daughter is in her teenage years. Toilets are rare in her village and personal sanitation is a daily problem, especially for girls. Gauri and her three daughters never had a toilet at home. Going outside, harassment from men was often a problem.

When Gauri’s daughters were young, she would walk with them to go where it was safe. As her daughters reached adolescence Gauri took action: she built a toilet with support from the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat.

“For a long time I thought that it would require a lot of space and be very costly,” she said. At meetings with AKAH she learned how toilets could be cheap to build and long-lasting.

Having a toilet in the home has made a huge difference. Now when people visit her health center, she says, “I tell them about my experience and how it’s made our lives much better.”

Gauri’s story is part of a larger AKDN project that is improving sanitation in India. It is expected to benefit one million people and contribute to the goal of making India free from open defecation.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sometimes called the Global Goals, are a worldwide movement to break the cycle of poverty and ensure all people can fulfill their potential. For fifty years, the Aga Khan Foundation, as a part of the Aga Khan Development Network, has been working to do that. We are thrilled to share these stories from around the Network that show how we are building brighter futures, in line with our partners dedicated to ending poverty through the SDGs. We work together with communities, partners, and supporters like you to achieve the 17 goals that will improve quality of life for everyone. We invite you to enjoy and share these stories of what we can accomplish together.

Discover more about the Sustainable Development Goals

Discover more about our efforts in Rural Development