About VIA Water

About VIA Water

How it started

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 we fund, we hope to learn, draw conclusions and ultimately re-invest this knowledge into the sector.

In the fall of 2014, we commissioned research into the 'most pressing water needs' in Africa. From this, we drew conclusions about what we should be focusing on. This has meant VIA Water only works on cities in the 7 focus countries, and on 12 pressing needs. We also determined what we believe in and strive for, and what this means for the programme.

What we believed    

VIA Water believed that the world is changing. From exclusive property, the hoarding of knowledge, and established institutions, towards cooperation, knowledge sharing, and co-creation. VIA Water believed in these new values and found therein the energy and the solutions that can solve the water issues in African cities.

What we strove for

VIA Water worked 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 worked

VIA Water supported 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 could be brought to life: with financial support, but also with the help of the (online) learning community. Wherever possible, we supported you throughout the process: connected you to possible partners, found experts that might be able to help you etc.

Since we have been set up to gather knowledge and to learn from your projects, sharing about your idea and the process of your project realisation were key to the programme. That implicated you were required to give regular updates about your project, the success but also the challenges that you encountered. This way, we strove towards making development in the water sector more evidence based, ultimately bringing this development to a higher plan.

VIA Water is now part of the 'Making Water Count' programme of Aqua for All which means we can continue until July 2024 to create an innovative, sustainable and inclusive water and sanitation economy worldwide. If you are interested in growing or scaling your innovation, you can find more information here: https://aquaforall.org/get-support/apply/

The team

VIA Water was executed by Aqua for All and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Through this combination VIA Water enjoyed the strengths of many fields of water expertise. The team is now integrated in the Aqua for All team and consisted of:

Titia Wouters - Programme manager 
Titia Wouters - Programme manager VIA Water

Shabana Abbas - Fund Manager
Shabana Abbas - Fund Manager VIA Water

Dick Bouman - Fund Manager
Dick Bouman - Fund Manager VIA Water

Vi Nguyen - Knowledge Broker / Programme manager
Vi Nguyen - Knowledge Broker / Programme manager VIA Water

Steering Group

A steering group gave strategic direction to VIA Water and was composed of:

  • Carola van Rijnsoever, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Director Inclusive Green Growth

  • Aalt Leusink, Owner Loasys, founder of NWP, former director IWACO and NEDECO, former governor of CPWC, Chair of Akvo

  • Victor Langenberg, Deltares, Water Resources Specialist + Coordinator Subsaharan Africa 

  • Martien Beek, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Deputy Head at the department of Marine and International Water Affairs


The Aqua for All programme office is located in The Hague, The Netherlands:

Spaarneplein 2
2515 VK, The Hague
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)70 720 0870