Building Skills Seminar

Intense training course in Benin


Projects in Mali, Benin and Senegal are often struggling with the transition of a donor-oriented cooperation towards entrepreneurship and private capital. During the Building Skills Seminar in the first week of October in Benin, VIA Water offered participants the opportunity to develop skills and ideas to make their own projects viable in the long term. The seminar focused on becoming more familiar with the Business Model Canvas. Working on these skills will eventually lead to more sustainable projects, which can continue even if the VIA Water support ends.

During the training, one of the participants remarked:

"At the beginning I was even hesitant about my participation in the VIA Water programme. I was afraid that it would constrain myself in my idea, that I would be forced to review my project. In the end it is a beautiful experience, it taught me a lot in terms of leadership, management and development of my business."

Local VIA Water liaison Fohla Mouftaou, together with MDF West Africa and Nzohou Consultancy organised the first ever French speaking VIA Water seminar around nine projects from Benin, Mali and Senegal. The workshop originated from the local need to increase skills in the field of business development, marketing and leadership.

In Mali, six projects have joined the VIA Water Programme, from which three were present at the training.

MAPAction, makes available to all a map of the city of Bamako, Mali which lists the problems in the WASH Sector. Map Action's first innovation is citizen participation in the project. The project is already to an advanced stadium and is mainly looking at the possibility to sell their app and to establish lasting partnerships. 

Boubacar (MAPAction) about VIA Water and the Building Skills Seminar:

Innovative sanitation services for Bamako. Protos and its partners, among which the Dutch Practica Foundation are looking at solutions for reinforcing the fecal sludge collection and transport market. During the training they focused on the improvement of the business model for a call center and how to make a marketing plan for the by-products (especially bio-fertilizers).

Mapping and Monitoring Critical Developments in Niger Delta. Mali Meteo, with the support of a Dutch consortium consisting of Floodtags, AKVO, Satelligence and Deltares work on drought modelling by using big data analysis. They combine their technique with new online media and remote sensing data sources for innovative mapping.

From Benin, 5 projects participated.

Sanimarket social sanitation marketingProtos installs sanitation facilities blocks – Sanimarkets -  offering several types of latrines. People can use and test these facilities at the market, and order one of those facilities to be installed at their home by trained masons; all this according to their preferences and available means.

Warning system for water shortages (ALERTE). PNE (Partenariat National de l’Eau and SONEB drinking water company establish a warning system for water shortages in the SONEB water company network, by using ICT. An alert system informs clients about planned and unplanned cuts in the water supply and possible options they have to store, treat or get water.

Building Skills Seminar impression:

NOEVA HydroGeophysics in coastal zones. NOEVA is developing a nuclear magnetic resonance device, which can measure the amount of groundwater and the abilities for the groundwater reserves to be recharged, up to a depth of 150 meters.

Valorisation of faecal sludge in Parakou. DCAM Bethesda creates compost from solid waste. The liquid waste is treated by a lagooning process which leads
to purified waters containing biomasses of phytoplankton and zooplankton. These in turn will be used in fish farming as food for the juvenile fish.

Greenkeeper Africa (GKA)which harvests the water hyacinth, a weed that clogs entire rivers and lakes. They turn the water hyacinth into an oil-absorbing fiber, which can be used by industry and transport companies.

And from Senegal, the Greening Plastics project joined.In this project, Deltares and Diaw Multiservices Sarl (DMS) work together on recycled drip irrigation systems. They are also training farmers in the use and maintenance of these systems; and support institutes responsible for managing the environment with training in innovative approaches for environmental quality monitoring using passive sampling techniques.

Parts of this article were previously published by NWP.
All photographs/videos by Audrey Legat, NWP.