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About GIWA

Since the dawn of history, faith has provided a foundation from which social norms develop. It is to faith leaders that billions are drawn to in times of joy and sorrow, as well as in the search for inner meaning. As teachers to the masses, the words of faith leaders motivate, persuade and enable. Through their speech and actions, they can bring about change in ways that others, quite simply, cannot.

An estimated 5 billion people across the world are members of religious communities, underscoring the critical role religious leaders can play in addressing seemingly intractable problems – such as access to safe water and sanitation.

The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) is the world’s first initiative that is engaging the planet’s many faiths as allies in efforts to create a world where every human being has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and proper hygiene.

Launched by UNICEF at UNICEF Headquarters during the United Nations General Assembly Meetings in New York at an event sponsored by USAID and the Government of the Netherlands, GIWA envisions a water-secure world in which safe and sustainable drinking water and improved sanitation will be accessible for all.

Mission, Vision & Values


GIWA’s mission is rooted in the power of faith and faith-based messaging to expand the definition of peace, to work together across diverse faith traditions in creating a just, peaceful, and pollution-free world with health, hygiene and harmony for all.  GIWA is also working to harness and channel the power of faith to abate climate change, protect the environment, and bring about gender equality and women’s empowerment.


A water-secure world in which universal access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and proper hygiene will be achieved by inspiring and equipping spiritual leaders and civil society to collaborate across faiths, nations, and peoples for the health and well-being of all, to empower women and to protect our environment.


  • Interfaith Collaboration
  • Service to the Under-Represented and Excluded
  • Peace-Building
  • Ecological Stewardship
  • Sustainability
  • Transparency
  • Equality
  • Mutual Respect
  • Inspiration
  • Open Dialogue

Founded on the strengths built upon nearly three decades of interfaith advocacy and network development activities, GIWA’s core strengths include:


A large network of leaders representing all of India’s major faiths as well as international faith leaders

A sampling of the faith leaders GIWA has come together with includes: HH Pope Francis, HH the Dalai Lama, Giani Gurubachan Singh (Sikh, Chief Jathedar of the Golden Temple) Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (world-renowned Hindu leader), Swami Ramdev (world renowned Hindu leader), Chief Rabbi David Rosen (International Director of Interreligious Affairs, American Jewish Committee), Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith (Founder, Agape Ministries), Dr. Azza Karam (Secretary-General, Religions for Peace), Maulana Luqman Tarapuri-aDeobandi (Muslim, National President, Global Imam’s Council), Archbishop Dr. Kuriakose Bharnikulangara (Catholic Archbishop of Faridabad), Rakeshbhai Jhaveri (world-renowned Jain leader), Cardinal Oswald Gracias (Archbishop of Mumbai and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church), Diwan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan (Muslim, Head of the Ajmer Sharif Shrine), Imam Umar Ilyasi (Muslim, President, All-India Association of Imams of Mosques), Sant Morari Bapu (world-renowned Hindu leader), Bishop William Swing, (Anglican, Founder/ President, United Religions Initiative and Archbishop of San Francisco), Swami Avdheshanand Giri (Hindu, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara), Rameshbhai Oza (world-renowned Hindu leader), Sister BK Shivani (Brahmakumaris) and many others.

Existing WASH-related field programmes in core areas

Behavior change communications, education programs, menstrual hygiene management, mass events toilet and handwashing infrastructure, disaster relief and more.



A large network of partnerships covering a wide-range of populations

GIWA has partnered and worked with: UNICEF, UNFPA, WSSCC (SHF), PaRD, the Government of the Netherlands, Gates Foundation, WWF, Swarovski, RB, United Religions Initiative (URI), the All- India Association of Imams of Mosques, the World Council of Churches, the Elijah Interfaith Institute, FICCI/Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Swarovski, and many others.

Well-established relationships with government, business, education and civil society leaders, and a solid reputation and existing track-record for environmental, public health, policy and interfaith efforts

As part of recent advocacy efforts on WASH issues, meetings have been conducted with key leaders including: the Hon’ble President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu; the Hon’ble Vice President of India Shri Jagdeep Dhankar; the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi; the Hon’ble Head of Rashtriya Sevak Sangh Shri Mohan Bhagwat; HRH King Charles; the Hon’ble 14th President of India Shri Ramnath Kovind; many former presidents and prime ministers of various countries including India, UK, Japan, South Africa, Guyana etc.; the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; the President of the UN General Assembly; Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mahant Shri Yogi Adityanath; Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Smt Anandiben Patel; Governor of Uttarakhand, Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh; Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Pushkar Singh Dhami; Governor of Kerala, Shri Arif Mohammad Khan; National Security Advisor of India, Shri Ajit Doval; renowned leaders from across the world; and numerous sitting cabinet ministers of India, including: Shri Rajnath Singh (Home Affairs), Nitin Gadkari (Rejuvenation, Road Transport & Highways), Gajendra Singh (Jal Shakti), Piyush Goyal (Railways), Smriti Irani (Information & Broadcasting), Bhupendra Yadav (Environment & Forests), Sarbananda Sonowal (AYUSH), Kiran Rijiju (Law and Justice), Hardeep Puri (Petroleum and Natural Gas & Housing & Urban Affairs), G Kishan Reddy (Tourism, Culture Development), Arjun Ram Meghwal (Parliamentary Affairs & Culture), Ashwini Kumar (Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution), and Ajay Bhatt (Tourism).



Positive relations with print and broadcast media

GIWA has been featured (on several times) by Dainik Jagran (the world’s largest newspaper, readership), CNN, ANI News Service, PTI News Service, Times of India, Zee News, India TV, ABP News, Hindustan Times, the Business Standard, the Guardian (UK), Forbes, Washington Post, Scientific American, Huffington Post, Newsweek and many more news outlets.

Facilities for mass events

including halls that can hold hundreds and large event spaces that can hold thousands within GIWA’s Secretariat on the holy banks of Mother Ganga at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh.



An established team of highly-dedicated professionals

A large volunteer base from a range of backgrounds

including scientists, researchers, engineers, business executives, educators and students