Story by : Welthungerhilfe India
Written on : 5th March, 2013

Viva con Aqua based out of Hamburg in Germany is a group of water enthusiasts who work extensively in Africa and now in South Asia to create awareness about water, sanitation and hygiene. In conversation with Vaishali Mishra, WHH, Christian Weibe talks about the importance of raising awareness on the issues and about the partnership with Welthungerhilfe and Parmarth.

VcA has been working for water – related causes across developing nations in Africa and now in India and Nepal. What inspired VcA to take up this cause?

Besides the air we breathe, water is the most fundamental source of life. Water creates life, water is life. Water means healthy living, happy living. For Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli this is the primary motivation for our activities – the funding and implementation of water projects around the world and thus enabling people to access clean water.

VcA routes all its projects through Welthungerhilfe. Why did you decide to collaborate with Welthungerhilfe?

Welthungerhilfe guarantees a reliable realisation of the projects. It professionally and sustainably puts the projects into practice. In recent years, the cooperation has become more than a partnership: it’s like a friendship. We wouldn’t have gone such a long way together with Welthungerhilfe had it not been the best cooperation you can find. Nonetheless, there is room for improvement. We wish that the project communication would become more vivid and the connection to the regional offices and the local partner organisations would become even more stronger.

What made VcA work in Asia, especially India?

For VcA the understanding that India needs strong intervention in the area of water issues was always there. This was also an opportunity to reach out to more people and help them.

What are the images that India as a country evoked for VcA?

A colourful land with a fascinating history. A country faced with the challenge to lead more than 1 billion people into the 3 Rd millennium under sustainable aspects. As Gandhi said in 1925: “Sanitation is more important than political independence” almost 90 years later, we can remark: There is a long way to go and still much to do – that people have access to water, sanitation and real political independence!

How does VcA view the programme Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) that is being implemented by the South Asia Regional office of Welthungerhilfe along with one of its partners Parmarth?

We like it that there is an integral way of viewing things in the design of this project. We are convinced that the programme will have a deep impact on the development in the project areas.

The team has travelled to the field project areas. Any striking impression that you would want to share with the readers?

Two impressions we will never forget: 1. How the people in the field project areas sharpened their project management skills 2. The WASH-demonstration of the kids on the Hand Washing day. Deeply impressive!

What are your future plans and how would India feature in the scheme of things?

Of course Viva con Agua wants to grow, but in a healthy and reflective way. Our plan is to build up a strong Viva con Agua network in the German speaking countries in Europe. Maybe, in a few years, there could be a Viva con Agua organization even in India or Nepal. For sure, we will support WASH-projects in India and Nepal for the next years to come.