Enabling access to water and hygiene in slums and precarious dwellings
143 000 homeless people
5 380 people helped


According to the Abbé Pierre Foundation's 25th report on poor housing conditions, 143,000 people are homeless and 91,000 people live in makeshift housing.

Official figures in January 2020 show 19,237 people living in 413 shantytowns spread over 38 departments in metropolitan France, as well as 208,000 Gipsies with poor housing conditions or without access to a place in developed areas.

These people in a (highly) precarious situation and without adequate housing suffer from unequal access to health services, water, sanitation, and a balanced diet. They are particularly exposed to epidemics such as COVID-19.

The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program published on June 19, 2019 estimates that 2.1% of the French metropolitan population, or 1.4 million people, do not have access to a safely managed access to basic services. Sometimes even the water source is located at considerable walking distance (several hundred meters to several kilometers from the place of residence).

The use of unsuitable solutions (opening fire hydrants), expensive (purchase of bottled water) or even dangerous (uncontrolled connection to a network, leading to the risk of leaks and contamination of the water consumed), exposes populations to health and legal risks that aggravate their isolation and their difficulties in life.

  • 67 million inhabitants
  • 14.7% poverty rate
  • 36% out of 189 on the Human Development Index

Our action

  • Mission
    opened in 2020 (re-opening)
  • Team 5 national staff
  • Budget 189 000€

SOLIDARITES INTERNATIONAL intervenes in 4 different areas in France: in Ile-de-France, in the cities of Nantes, Toulouse and in the Hauts-de-France.


Goal n°1: water conveyance to vulnerable people without access to water services

  • Beneficiaries : 909
  • Sites connected to drinking water : 8
  • Number of water sources : 12

Goal n°2: strengthening the capacity of people in precarious situations to apply preventive measures to COVID-19

  • Beneficiaries : 1 014
  • Number of individual hygiene kits : 852
  • Number of family hygiene kits : 230
  • Number of baby kits : 119

In March 2020, during the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Paris region, Solidarités International teams worked with Médecins du Monde in several shantytowns in Saint-Denis, Drancy, Aubervilliers and Stains, where access to water and sanitation is almost non-existent in some precarious sites  where overcrowding raise fears of a rapid spread of the virus.

Once assessed the needs, the teams organized distributions of soap, hygiene and baby kits and installed temporary access to water in several shantytowns so that the inhabitants could live in dignified conditions and better apply preventive measures, particularly hand washing. In April and May, 8 sites were connected to drinking water, benefiting 412 households. Finally, during the summer of 2020, all 22 sites in the Val d’Oise department were diagnosed, 230 families received handwashing kits and 1 site has already been connected (120 people).


Goal n°1

  • Beneficiaries : 1 040
  • Sites connected to drinking water : 10
  • Number of water sources : 10

Goal n°2 

  • Beneficiaries : 3428
  • Number of handwashing hygiene kits : 968

In Nantes, 11 slum-type sites have been connected to drinking water, benefiting 277 households in June 2020. In addition, drinking water storage and handwashing kits were distributed to 968 households at all sites in the metropolis (49 slums).


Goal n°1

  • Beneficiaries : 468
  • Sites connected to drinking water : 11
  • Number of water sources : 26

Goal n°2

  • Beneficiaries : 938
  • Number of handwashing hygiene kits : 428

Diagnostic work highlighted 14 vulnerable sites in June 2020. Solidarités teams worked in 10 sites with no connection to the metropolitan water network. Handwashing hygiene kits were distributed to 273 households.

Hauts de France

Goal n°2

  • Number of handwashing hygiene kits : 120

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL works in two areas in the Haut-de-France region: Calais and Lille.

In 2015 in Calais, the SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams, together with Médecins du Monde, have committed themselves in “the Jungle” to offer refugees dignified access to drinking water, as well as at least hygiene and sanitation. The mission was closed in November 2015 after the NGO Médecins sans Frontières gradually took over the areas of intervention of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation.

In 2020, new diagnostics were carried out in the Littoral zone: Calais and Grande Synthe. Discussions have been initiated with town halls and associations to find solutions for access to water.

A diagnosis of precarious housing sites in the Lille metropolitan area was carried out in September 2020, and negotiations with the competent authorities are underway.


Médecins du Monde, Fondation Veolia, Aquassistance, ACINA, Quatorze, Romeurope, Coalition EAU, ACF (coordination)

Our impact

water sanitation

Water, sanitation and hygiene

5 380 beneficiaries

– Water supply: 29 sites were connected to drinking water
– Reinforcement of the implementation of preventive measures at COVID-19

Should you have any questions, please contact Contact Emmanuel Rinck

Emmanuel Rinck


At head office