March 20, 2014
Voss Foundation was established with a singular idea: that a lack of access to clean water should not impede development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, this was what inspired then-VOSS-CEO Knut Brundtland, our founder, as he learned of the lack of access to such a vital resource and contemplated his responsibility as the CEO of a luxury water brand.
Since then, we have developed and learned immeasurably. Our mission has not deviated, but it has both grown and been refined. And so it is with great consideration that, in anticipation of Voss Foundation’s fifth celebration of World Water Day, we present our evolved scope with a new statement:
Voss Foundation is dedicated to providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene as a means to enable community-driven development in Sub-Saharan Africa and raising awareness of the ongoing need in the region.
To these most central concepts we have added: sanitation, hygiene, and development. Why? Because for many years we have included sanitation and hygiene in our projects (the combination of water, sanitation, and hygiene is often referred to as WASH) and we decided it was time to recognize them and their inextricable link to clean water.
However, what is notable is the shift in emphasis from mere access to these most vital resources and their extraordinary power, as Knut put it, as “an engine for growth.” As we have followed up with our partners to track our projects and learn more about our impact over time, beyond implementation, we have begun to understand just how enormous the implications of WASH are. By watching our projects affect health, education, female empowerment, food security, maternal and child survival, the economy, the environment, politics and more, we conceived of The Ripple Effect of clean water. As early as 2009, we were talking about the interconnectedness of WASH to so many sectors of development for our beneficiary communities. Our projects have helped to empower women, educate girls, save children’s lives, grow vegetables, permit medicine to be practiced effectively, increase incomes, promote harmony between people and animals, reduce environmental strain, and propel self-governance. We now realize that, by providing each community with access to WASH services, we are actually giving them the tools with which, and a solid foundation upon which, to improve their own lives in all of these areas.
And that is why we are happy say our mission remains the same, but our statement of it, acknowledging the breadth and depth of our work, is now duly updated.