Nadine and Rachel in The Netherlands
Rotary Club Rijswijk-West supports visit of project leaders
In 2017, VIA Water was approached by the Rotary club Rijswijk-West. They wanted to organise a cultural exchange and tailor made training for two of our project owners.
We selected two female entrepreneurs to come and visit the Netherlands. Rachel Araye is project owner for an innovation in Benin that works on a mobile platform for water supply information. Through the platform, a direct communication channel is established between the water supply company (SONEB) and the customer. They can now communicate about water cuts, leakages and planned maintenance. The platform and app also contain useful information about handwashing hygiene and the treatment of water to make it safe for usage.
She was joined by Nadine Munezero from Rwanda. Nadine is the Rwandan project lead for the Hyroponics project, an innovation that is also being tested in Kenya with support from VIA Water. Hydroponics is a way of vertical farming in which much less soil, water and pesticides are being used. Because it is a vertical system, it does not require much space. This makes it specifically suitable for use in urban areas, which are growing at an enormous rate in Rwanda.
Rachel and Nadine visited organisations and companies in The Netherlands that work in the same fields of expertise. Nadine for instance went to the Vertical Garden Tube company and to Tomato World. She also visited an urban farm, and sat down with Saskia Reus from Africa Funded to go through her business case. Rachel visited Basic Water Needs, drinking water utility Dunea, Royal HaskoningDHV and a Technical University Delft project on Mobile Crowd Participation for Drinking Water. Rachel also had a business development session with Saskia Reus.
When asked about their experiences, Nadine explained:
“The visit was very informative and useful. I really liked the fact that it focused on our development both in the projects but also as business women. I got some great contacts for possible future collaborations and will definitely keep in contact with all the trainers for the program.”
When asked what she learned and didn’t know about before her visit, she mentions:
“It was interesting to learn that urban farming in Holland was also still on the up and coming. I was worried that for Rwanda it was taking long for people to grasp the idea but it was reassuring that even in a country with very advanced agriculture sector, some concepts are also still on the up and coming.”
Vi Nguyen, organising the VIA Water part of the visit, added:
“It was great to have Nadine and Rachel visit The Netherlands and to connect them with valuable contacts in their field of expertise from the Dutch water sector. Sharing knowledge is such a strong foundation of VIA Water, so it was greatly interesting for both of us to learn how different organizations, companies and institutes in The Netherlands are actively tackling water issues. I hope that Nadine and Rachel return to Rwanda and Benin brimming with new ideas and inspiration for their innovation projects.”