The right place, the right time
The Foundation presented its new headquarters in India with a call for collaboration at all levels to meet the major challenges regarding access to water and sanitation. The event brought together proactive personalities in the struggle for this fundamental right that affects much of India's population.
"This is the right place, this is the right time" said Xavier Torras, Director of the We Are Water Foundation, at the presentation of the new headquarters in India. The presence of the Foundation in the Asian giant will allow to take a closer look at the water and sanitation challenges faced by the great country and to act more efficiently by developing new projects that will be added to those the Foundation has been developing for seven years.
The event was attended by Joe Madiath, founder of Gram Vikas Foundation, Arumugam Kalimuthu, Project Director to Swachh Bharat Mission technical implementation program, Akhila Sivadas, Executive Director at Centre for Advocacy and Research, and Swapnil Chaturvedi, known as “Poop Guy”, founder of Samagra Sanitation.
Joe Madiath, referring to the problem of the lack of sanitation, commented on the famous phrase of the leader of the Indian independence movement: "When Gandhi said that sanitation was even more important that independency for India, everybody thought he was blasphemous. So many years after, we have seen that he was absolutely right."
Xavier Torras, Director of the We Are Water Foundation.
Meanwhile, Arumugam Kalimuthu also highlighted the issue of sanitation, and he stressed the importance of creating a new culture to solve the serious problems that India has in this regard: "Fixing the sanitation problem is not only a matter of money and infrastructures, but also a change in the mindset of the people".
Swapnil Chaturvedi, the "Poop Guy", who refers to himself as the Chief Toilet Cleaner, explained a usual experience in his activity: "Wherever I go, I usually find that the toilet is the dirtiest place. And this is because people still don't care about it".
Maybe the biggest challenge in India is to eliminate open defecation. This is a scourge whose main victims are women and girls, as Akhila Sivadas pointed out: “Gender needs to be one of the main focal points when we talk about sanitation"
All present agreed on the importance of working on all aspects of the problem: education, infrastructure creation, population awareness and adequate management of water resources. All these issues are essential to successfully address each of the challenges, and so they are the cornerstones of the Foundation.
The presentation also served to launch "The Hidden Life of Water", a new Foundation’s campaign to unveil ideas and facts about water that are decisive in the lives of each of us, but are commonly unknown. From the knowledge of these hidden facts we can develop a greater awareness of how essential water is to lead a dignified life and to eradicate poverty.