9 things on Oxfam’s ‘bucket list’ for World Water Day

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Meet our bucket. It’s a bucket known throughout humanitarian community as the ‘Oxfam bucket’, it was designed by Oxfam and has spent years saving lives around the world. On World Water Day, here are nine things on Oxfam’s ‘bucket list’ of facts about how this bucket saves lives.

  • The tap stops people dipping (unclean) cups, hands, or other containers into the bucket.
  • The bucket’s fixed lid means it cannot be used for things like washing babies, or feeding livestock – which would infect the bucket and the water.
  • It has no obtuse corners, which makes it easy to clean. There’s nowhere bacteria can hide in an Oxfam bucket.

  • A rounded dip in the base allows people to carry the bucket on their heads comfortably, important if there’s a long way to go.
  • It’s made of a special UV-resistant plastic which does not deteriorate in sunlight. These buckets are built to last.
  • Despite these unique features, Oxfam has never applied for patents for the bucket. “We don’t care if people copy the bucket” says its designer Andy Bastable.

"We don't care if people copy the bucket," says designer Andy Bastable

  • Oxfam has distributed more than 15,000 buckets with taps and lids since World Water Day 2015*

Our Oxfam Unwrapped Emergency hygiene kit is a bucket full of hygiene essentials, from soap to sanitary towels, to help people who have lost everything to stay clean and healthy. Not only is it a disease-beater, but being able to wash is a step towards getting life back to normal.

See Lucy Porter and Tom Wrigglesworth unwrap our buckets in this terribly retro video from 2008!


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Header Image: Oxfam distributes hygiene kits in Sankhu. The kits contain a bucket for clean water, a bar of soap, oral rehydration salts, and towels, helping people to meet their basic sanitation needs. Oxfam has also provided the community with emergency latrines to help prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases. Credit: Aubrey Wade, May 2015.

The Oxfam bucket in the Oxfam warehouse Cebu city. Credit: Jire Carreon

*according to Oxfam’s HELIOS supply chain system.

Author: Oxfam
Archive blog. Originally posted on Oxfam Policy & Practice.