Learnings from the VIAWater learning tour in Ghana


Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate in the first ever VIAWater learning tour organized in Accra, Ghana. It was a wonderful occasion to learn and share with young and exuberant entrepreneurs who are poised to cause a tremendous change in Ghana’s water and sanitation sector. Indeed, with the right support and mentorship, the innovative ideas radiating from their minds can set into motion a series of businesses which will contribute immensely to progressively address key water and sanitation issues in the country. Although I had an opportunity to go through some of the discussion points earlier during the innovation challenge, the delivery approach this time made it even more enjoyable – thanks to the facilitators who made every moment of the tour very exciting.
I seized the opportunity to present initial findings of my project through a poster presentation to seek inputs from people with different backgrounds. I got very useful inputs for the project, some of which sent me to straight to the drawing board to rethink and improve certain aspects. A key lesson I learnt from this interaction was that, it is good to always share and seek feedback from people with different backgrounds - you never know where a splendid idea for improving your project may come from.
The sessions on proposal writing and results chain analysis were also key learning moments for me. They offered a broader insight into what I learned earlier during the innovation challenge since we were given the chance to brainstorm with others. The delivery approach to these sessions were spot on – learning by brainstorming together. Eventually, through the learning tour, several valuable ideas and experiences were shared, key lessons were learned and above all connections with like-minded entrepreneurs were established.
I cannot but think that, the solutions to the challenges in our country lie with us here in the country. Only that we have not taken time to realize it. With the right support to young and passionate entrepreneurs in our country, the problems we see currently in Ghana’s water and sanitation sector will be avenues for huge economic returns.
To all the young entrepreneurs out there, don’t let go of your impossible dreams for as Nelson Mandela said: “It always seems impossible until it is done”. Hold on and hold out!

I am developing a wastewater recycling system for car washing stations in Ghana to address the wastage of significant volumes of water and the unbridled degradation of the life and beauty of our waterbodies as a result of car wash operations among others. It is an issue that has over the years been beyond the focus of researchers and sector practitioners but silently wreaking environmental and public health havoc in the urban landscape.
Any suggestion for improvement is welcome. Email: monney.isaac@gmail.com