Mozambique Knock Out Competition
See who won and hear how the participants experienced it
An interesting but worthwhile ride, that’s how we would describe our Knock Out Competition adventure in Mozambique. Started in December 2015, this four-round accelerator has been set up to train participants’ skills in proposal writing, creative thinking, business plans and much more. Our ultimate goal was to boost the number and quality of proposals from Mozambique, which is behind on countries such as Kenya and Ghana.
In December we started out with 35 participants and project ideas, and 6 of those teams made it to the final round. At the end of this final XL round, all the teams presented the project idea they had been working on these past months at the Dutch Embassy. Three of the pitches were awarded. Abel Viageiro won the innovation prize with his pitch about the state of the art ICT managed small water distribution system he would like to develop. Winning this price means he will be supported by VIA Water with a €2000, - prize to continue developing his idea into a full proposal. The social impact prize was awarded to Maria Chuma and Fernando Mumbai, who are looking to set up 2 ‘work places’ (Maputo and Xai Xai) for the validation of waste products from which artisanal paper, cardboard, and artisanal products are made by socially challenged people (women and youth). They will be supported by SNV from now on. Finally, Antonio Cumbane won the best pitch prize. His project is aimed at the production of chlorine from brackish/salt water using an electrolysis plant.
Although we were prepared for some language- and culture barriers, it still turned out to be quite a struggle to bring our expectations and that of participants together. For VIA Water, sometimes the drive of the participants was not so clear, and for the participants it was difficult to see the added value of some of the training we provided. In the end however, after speaking up about these expectations and getting to know each other better, we believe we have been able to make a difference in how the participants will be working on proposals and their projects from now on.
Here are our tips and reflections
- Inspiring venues are scarce in Maputo, but it is possible to find them: we ended up in a beautiful green enclave in the middle of the city!
- Make use of us while we are there! Dare to ask questions, talk to us about your idea, and convince us your project will be amazing. Of course, it helps to be on time as well…
- Earning trust and making a real connection with participants takes time, which is difficult as a Dutch programme with limited time on the ground in Mozambique. Multiple programme days combined does help.
- The drive of the participants is sometimes hidden because of all kinds of secondary obstacles, but it is definitely there. The participants that lasted until the final round were also quite proud to have made it this far!
- Just do it is not only a slogan Nike uses. While practicing the pitches over and over this slogan helped us get out of our comfort zones. This also goes for project ideas: it’s often better to stop dreaming about changing the entire country, but to just start working on a smaller but more feasible project.
View how some of the participants experienced the competition: