VIA Water fund is closed
The VIA Water fund has reached the end of its capacity, which means that as of April 10th the fund has been closed. There are no current plans to re-open the fund in the near future: financing for our projects has been designed to end by December 2018, which means projects can start at the latest by the summer of 2017. Besides this, the number of contracts we are able to finance in total will be reached with this final batch of projects.
The good news is that this final push deadline did deliver us a big wave of high-quality proposals to work with. On or before deadline day, a total of 39 full proposals have been submitted. A large amount of projects already handed in a teaser before this final deadline, enabling them to run their idea by us before writing a complete project proposal. Out of these, 10 applications that were found eligible ended up submitting a full proposal. There were 17 completely new applications (not having handed in a teaser beforehand), and 12 projects that had been working on their full proposal for a longer period already – some since the start of the programme actually!
Apart from these new applications, we still have some earlier proposals in process, and we expect that these groups together will absorb all our budget. The team is hard at work processing and reviewing all of the full proposals that have come in.
Interestingly, in the last batch we received many applications (11) from Mozambique; a country out of which we previously did not receive many proposals. Ghana has also been well represented, whereas Kenya (which was our ‘top runner’ until now) has sent in ‘only’ 5 proposals. As before, WASH proposals are abundant, although projects working on urban agriculture water are a good runner-up. Applications made by a Dutch main applicant plus local partners, or by completely African organisations are the main groups.
What happens next, is that by the end of the second week of May we will inform applicants on the status of their application. Proposals that are deemed eligible are already being reviewed by our external reviewers, to speed up the process. Those that are able to move forward with a VIA Water contract will be in close contact with the team; possibly making some amendments or additions, and finalising the contract details. All new projects will be up and running by September, which means that a total of around 60-70 VIA Water projects will be executed until 2019.
Since no new proposals will be coming in after this final deadline, the focus of the programme will shift as well: support of the projects on their project management and learning journey will be an (even more) important pillar of our work. We will also focus on the learning aspect of the programme itself; assembling the lessons learnt, drawing conclusions from this about the future of innovation and development. And finally and most importantly: spreading this knowledge to policy makers, investors, other funds and entrepreneurs.