India is the world’s largest democracy and is composed of 28 states and seven union territories. Separated from mainland Asia by the Himalayas, the country is bordered by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west, and the Indian Ocean to the south. India is a country of great cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity.
According to the most recent Joint Monitoring Program Report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, 92% of people have access to safe water. Access to sanitation is much lower, with only 35% of the population using improved sanitation facilities. Across the country, there is a wide disparity in access to safe water and sanitation among districts, and in the rural areas where Water For People–India works, access is significantly lower.
Water For People began working in India in 1996, with a small pilot project in West Bengal to help eliminate naturally occurring arsenic in water supplies. In 2005, Water For People established a full-fledged country program with an office in Kolkata, and by the end of 2010 had programming in several districts in West Bengal. Water For People–India recently relocated its head office to Delhi, and expanded work to urban areas and Sheohar, which is located in the state of Bihar.