VIA Water fully started working in the summer of 2014. Before that, a substantive journey had already been undertaken. The programme had been commissioned as one of the 'Knowledge Platforms' the Dutch government established, to build a scientific research base for future policy making in Dutch international development aid.
In the Dutch water sector, a different view was expressed: many people felt there was much more need to actually test the research and new ideas, and see what works in practice and what does not. A plan was made to serve this need, and the first outlines of the programme became visible. A programme set out to look for innovative solutions to solve water problems, through which could be tested what methods might make a solid base for future development. Through the trials, errors and successes of the projects they fund, they hope to learn, draw conclusions and ultimately re-invest this knowledge into the sector.
In the fall of 2014, they commissioned research into the 'most pressing water needs' in Africa. From this, they drew conclusions about what they should be focusing on. This has meant VIA Water only works on cities in the 7 focus countries, and on 12 pressing needs. They also determined what they believe in and strive for, and what this means for the programme.
What they believe
VIA Water believes that the world is changing. From exclusive property, the hoarding of knowledge, and established institutions, towards cooperation, knowledge sharing, and co-creation. VIA Water believes in these new values and finds therein the energy and the solutions that can solve the water issues in African cities.
What they strive for
VIA Water works on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 - Water in cities in Africa -, in innovative ways, together with new as well as experienced players, and with a mind-set focused on sustainability.
How it works
VIA Water supports projects with innovative solutions for water problems facing cities in seven African countries: Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda and South Sudan. Through the programme, these solutions can be brought to life: with financial support, but also with the help of the (online) learning community. Wherever possible, they will support throughout the process: connecting the client to possible partners, finding experts that might be able to help, etc.
Since they have been set up to gather knowledge and to learn from projects, sharing about the idea and the process of the project realisation are key to the programme. This means the client will be required to give regular updates about the project, the success but also the challenges that might encounter. This way, they strive towards making development in the water sector more evidence based, ultimately bringing this development to a higher plan.