Close this search box.


Water and health

“Access to water is a fundamental need and a human right, vital for people’s dignity and health” Amref Every year around 1.8 million children die of diseases associated with contaminated water. Access to safe water means progress: it means appreciably reducing the health risks people are exposed to and, in particular, reducing infant mortality rates by over 20%; it means being able to drink, cook, irrigate and cultivate kitchen gardens and nurseries. Water is key to social and economic development in some of the world’s poorest countries. The result of the first three years of funding by the Zegna Foundation was the construction of the Enderkesi waterworks in the Kajiado district, Kenya, on the border with Tanzania, and of numerous other water facilities. The Masai tribes living in Kajiado were closely involved in the construction of the waterworks. The project in fact became a part of the community, whose members were trained to operate, protect and maintain the plant. The infrastructure construction project has been associated with various training activities in the health field, aimed in particular at mothers and families, with the aim of eradicating cholera, widespread in the area. In addition, after strengthening the local school infrastructure through the construction of new classrooms, training programmes were launched on different themes, from water management to the prevention of endemic diseases, up to environmental education with the aim of containing desertification and the drying up of the territory. The projects supported by the Zegna Foundation have allowed the Masai to face a terrible drought, lasted for three years, breaking the vicious circle of hunger – disease – poverty that characterizes large African rural areas and prevents the start of productive activities that allow the development of the territory.



Set up in 1957, the African Medical and Research Foundation is the biggest non-governmental organization operating in Africa engaged in health education, medical assistance and crisis management programs.

Fondazione Zegna and Amref worked together to reduce poverty in East African village communities by improving access to drinking water and implementing forestation programs – thereby helping to reduce malnutrition related diseases – and combat diseases linked to inadequate hygiene and sanitation.

From 2003 to 2009, the construction of an aqueduct, water tanks and numerous wells helped to improve the quality of life of people and their animals and also boosted the production of milk to alleviate malnutrition. Infrastructure projects were accompanied by adult training programs and education for children focusing on the prevention of endemic diseases, the maintenance of water facilities and measures to stop desertification. In short, the collaboration laid the foundations for sustainable growth by the local communities.