The international Viega Group is an expert in healthy drinking water in buildings and is one of the global market and technology leaders in the installation sector. For more than 120 years, drinking water hygiene has been crucial to the financial success of the family-owned company. By establishing the Viega Foundation, the Group now intends to provide concrete support. The charitable foundation is committed to creating the basic requirements for a healthy life: clean water, access to basic sanitation and safe hygiene practices. This year has seen the foundation launch this vital work by supporting three projects in India.
More than two billion people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water, while more than three billion people do not have access to safe sanitary facilities. (Source: UN) Providing all people with access to clean drinking water and sanitation is therefore one of the UN’s key strategic goals – the sixth of a total of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established as part of its 2030 Agenda.
The Viega Foundation: setting an example with WASH
A large number of international cooperation projects dedicated to this task go by the acronym WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and focus on safe drinking water, access to sanitary facilities and the promotion of hygiene practices. The Viega Foundation is more than dedicated to this issue. “One of our company’s core areas of expertise is maintaining clean drinking water in buildings. We are aware of our responsibility in this respect and carry out this work to great success. By establishing the Viega Foundation, we can now carry out funding projects to promote WASH in regions that we don’t normally reach through our usual business projects,” says Anna Viegener, Chair of the Shareholder Committee of Viega Holding GmbH & Co. KG.
India presents great challenges but good conditions
The Viega Foundation is now engaged in this vital work by supporting three WASH projects in India. “We chose India because we wanted to get actively involved in a country where we could make a real mark as a company,” explains Franz Viegener, member of the Shareholder Committee of Viega Holding GmbH & Co. KG. Viega has been present in India with its own subsidiary since 2015. In addition to a production facility in Sanand, Viega India operates a sales office in Delhi and a seminar centre in Mumbai. The country is one of the Group’s key growth markets.
WASH is a particularly critical issue: in 2023, India officially became the most populous nation on Earth with more than 1.4 billion inhabitants. Around half of these still do not have reliable access to clean drinking water. As there is no central wastewater system, ninety percent of all wastewater from households and industrial facilities gets pumped back into the water circulation system untreated. On the subcontinent, many stakeholders are currently working together to achieve the SDG targets by 2030. The Indian government is also investing in this area and has set itself some highly ambitious targets to benefit its population.
A presentation of the three WASH projects in India
Supported by the Viega Foundation, the WASH Institute sends out lorries to villages in southern Indian states to treat wastewater from sewage tanks on a decentralised basis using modern filter technology. Due to the geographical situation alone, it will never be possible to connect all the villages in India to a central wastewater system. Innovative ideas are therefore needed to give the population access to clean and safe drinking water which can be used sustainably. Founded in 2008, the WASH Institute is working closely with the Indian government and international research institutions to reach this goal.
The Impact Foundation and its own initiative, the National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (NFSSM) Alliance, are supported by the Viega Foundation and advise local and regional government bodies in relatively poor and underdeveloped states in the northeast of the country as part of the funding project. The topography of these often mountainous regions makes it difficult to develop systemic solutions for safe wastewater management. The funding project aims to empower policymakers with expertise and practical experience. The Impact Foundation is one of the most established non-profit organisations in India and thus an important interface between businesses, NGOs and the government.
Yuva Unstoppable is dedicated to creating proper conditions for learning with measures such as mentoring programmes and by improving school infrastructures. In the state of Gujarat, the funding project focuses on renovating sanitary facilities and other areas in schools to ensure that around 2,000 children have access to clean and functional WCs and water for washing their hands. A mobile container with filter technology is also used at the schools, which allows wastewater to be used several times as grey water (e. g. for flushing toilets). Yuva Unstoppable is a well-established non-profit organisation in India; it was founded in 2005 as a volunteer organisation that aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and young people.