Emmaus International

L’accès à l’eau potable est un droit humain fondamental
our policy
Access to drinking water is a fundamental human right. Emmaus International campaigns for public and community management to make water and sanitation accessible to all.

Key issues

  • One in every three people in the world doesn’t have access to safe drinking water
  • Nearly 4 billion people don’t have access to proper sanitation (WHO 2013)
  • Since only 3% of all Earth’s water is fresh water, it is a global resource of great strategic and commercial value (National Centre for Scientific Research, France)
  • The United Nations July 2010 resolution recognises the human right to water and sanitation
  • Nearly all countries in the global South have privatised the management of water. The right to water is being denied. Instead, it’s being turned into a commodity that has to be bought. (The Europe Third World Centre – CETIM).


pilot action
Le programme Nokoué, Bénin, Afrique


In Africa, Emmaus International has set up a community-run water access programme on Lake Nokoué in southern Benin. Local people appealed to the Emmaus organisation there for our movement’s help. It was then revealed that out of 70,000 people living around Lake Nokoué, only 10% had access to drinking water and 2% had access to sanitation.
Together, the local people and Emmaus set up the ‘Citizens in Solidarity for Water on Nokoué’ project in 2006, which will reach completion in 2015. As well as giving the whole lake population access to water and sanitation, the project has included the creation of a water users’ organisation, so the facilities are managed by the public sector and local community.

Watch the videos:
Nokoué: the water companions I
Nokoué: the water companions II


Global action


  • Asia: Kudumbam, India
    Water access programme in 3 villages
  • The Americas: Emmaus Uruguay
    Campaign for a national referendum to ban the privatisation of water
  • Africa: Benebnooma, Burkina Faso
    Between 2005 and 2010, 4 village wells dug
  • Europe: Pointe Rouge, France
    Co-organiser of the Alternative World Water Forum in 2012
get involved





Point of view
thumb joseph-oke-zannou

Joseph Oké Zannou,
committee member of the water users’ organisation

In December 2013, Joseph Oké Zannou became secretary of the Lake Nokoué water users’ organisation, which manages Emmaus International’s projects. “I’m involved in primary school development work for the local authorities. I wanted to take part in the water users’ organisation as it’s helping to develop our communities. Our role is to ensure the facilities are well managed, to monitor the works and test the water quality. The lake population is the focus of the programme, because it needs to take ownership of it, maintain and make it sustainable.”