A group of VIA Water Entrepreneurs and funded projects meet at Mercedes Café at the Silverstar towers in Accra yesterday. The objective of the meeting was to network and keep participants in the VIA Water Programme up to date with news about teasers and proposals submitted. It was also for participants in the programme to share common challenges and lessons learnt. Participants were mainly project owners who have either received the VIA Water funding or are at various stages with their proposals.
VIA Water is a Dutch programme designed to track down and support innovative solutions for water problems in seven African countries, focusing on 12 pressing needs in the urban context. Areas of interest include; water harvesting, groundwater, water quality, data, drinking water, sanitation, water in urban agriculture, institutional strengthening, water allocation, financial arrangements, urban planning and floods & droughts. An entrepreneur with a brilliant idea within these target areas can obtain support by sending a 2-page concept note (teaser) to firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the process.
Seven (7) projects owners and their partners, all at different stages of the VIA Water programme were present to share lessons learnt and the challenges they are facing so far. EnterWASH Ghana an iniative of MDF and a youth entrepreneurship programme that facilitate the creation of small sustainable and innovative businesses in the WASH sector was the first project to share their experiences. Through their practical training, mentoring and coaching support, the have 18 smaller projects they are currently supporting. Some of the EnterWASH mentees where also present to share their experience in the programme. Safi Sana, a compost and treatment facility that is growing vegetable nursery using recycled sludge updated participants on what they have done so far. Other project owners present were Skyfox Ghana, Gold Coast Energy, Kalabash Ghana and GTLC , a project working on producing organic fertilizer from urine. Isaac Monney, a lecturer from KNUST who is working on a car washing system that employs a low-cost technology for recycling wastewater from car wash stations was able to join us via skype to share his progress and lessons learnt. We also had a new company named Davsar Biotechnologies, a company specialized in constructing toilet digesters and providing a range of solutions in handling household feacal waste. They were present to know more about the VIA Water Programme.
Project owners shared a number of challenges and tips in the VIA Water process. Isaac Monney working on the Car washing system shared his challenges in accessing laboratories when it comes to testing his water samples, sometimes he has to travel all the way from Kumasi to Accra or Tarkwa to get them tested. Skyfox and Kalabash Ghana had a similar challenge in getting letters from GWCL, one of their major project partners. GTLC and Gold Coast Energy who are at the final stages of submitting their proposals were happy for the encouragement and the reminders they have been receiving from VIA Water through the local representative. They acknowledge that, the process in submitting a full proposals hasn’t been easy, but with encouragement and reminders, they are almost at the final stages in submitting a full proposal for consideration.
The program organized by VIA Water and facility by GNBCC and EnterWASH was attended by 28 participants comprising of VIA Water project owners, enterWASH mentors and mentees. Participants were reminded of the VIA Water innovation Challenge II: an online accelerator programme for those who want to submit teasers and those who have already handed in a teaser and to also share the via water opportunity in their networks. View more pictures of the event here.
Photo credit: Ekow MDF Ghana