VIA Water Innovation Challenge II

Winners Announced!


VIA Water is pleased to announce the 8 winners from the VIA Water Innovation Challenge II, who will get a chance to join its accelerator programme.

We have to be honest, when we came close to the last week of submissions for our 2nd Innovation Challenge, we almost hit the panic button. We only had about 15 contestants, not nearly enough to make a proper selection. But, as humans do, everyone handed in their proposal at the last minute and we ended up with 70 innovative ideas to scan and make a selection from.

These 8 selected projects-to-be will start their Innovation Challenge on December 9th, with a series of workshops organised and facilitated by Africa Funded. In 6 workshops they will learn from experts in the fields of developing a sound pilot proposal, market need assessment, budgeting, risk mitigation, outcome management, setting up the right team and partners complemented with individual sessions. The full track of training sessions will lead to an initial identification on the feasibility, and proposal for piloting the concept, which can be used for the VIA Water fund or other possible donors. This way, the participants have a chance of piloting their ideas for the very first time, thereby creating a proven concept to be used on the road ahead.

“The role of a program like VIA Water is crucial as there is a lack of risk capital to test promising ideas. VIA Water not only provides the funding, but also knowledge and network to develop the concepts. This challenge will add a pressure cooker element to the programme, and it will support the pioneers in getting to the next stage” indicates Saskia Reus-Makkink, founder of Africa Funded. ”It’s an exciting group, we look forward to start and be part of their teams for the coming weeks.”

The projects that have been selected are:

Latjor Gadier Gatwich Chuol, Yal Africa Potable Water, South Sudan
Latjor from South Sudan aims to start a water vending model in Juba, based on decentralized units with container distributions to vending points. The system will be unique as there are existing vending points (shops etc.) from where he will deliver and collect money afterwards.

Muhire Louis Antoine, Distant payment for water, Rwanda
Muhire is part of Mergims, a Rwanda based company that is enabling distant payments of migrants to cover energy, airtel, tution fees and other regular expenses of their relatives back home. The applicant intends to expand his service for water payments as there is a demand. The idea has potential to benefit the pro-poor as normally remittances/services are normally used by families from low to very low income households.

Mayank Midha, GARV toilets, India/Ghana
Mayank and his company develops very high tech but vandalism resistant, stainless steel toilet units for Indian slums and would like to pilot that now in an African context (Ghana). In their pilot in Ghana, he would like to install 4 blocks of toilets, each with 7 units and a bio-digestor. 

Boubacar Keita, Map Action, Bamako, Mali
The idea of Map Action is to create an interactive map of Bamako to highlight water problems in the city. The project allows citizens to share information about problems in their neighbourhood, which is then verified and then placed on an interactive map. The bigger goal of the project is to provide the citizens a tool to inform and be informed about their city. Moreover, through the interactive map, aims to inform the investors to make right decisions and to the authorities to respond to the challenges citizens report.

Virgile Akowanou, Sand-ceramic water filter for Household Water Treatment, Benin
Virgile has developed and tested the application of a ceramic disc attached to a sand column in a PVC tube of 10 cm diameter. This innovative filter is kind of a bio-sand filter in which the carbon is replaced by the disc. He has created the design based on a market survey and intends to pilot the filer in real (aim to produce 1,000 filters) for Euros 3 per unit.

Mshila Sio, Floating green filters, Kenya
Mshila Sio plans to pilot the application of a floating mat on which plants are grown, treating waste water. Efficiency is much higher than wetlands, because the roots are in the water (and not in the mud), giving a much higher contact area and efficient bacteria growth. He plans to pilot this system at a university’s waste water ponds (combining pilot, demo and research). The project also has plans to try it on river water as a pre-treatment for drinking water.

Branislav Petrusevsk & Abdulai Salifu, Fluroide removal filters to treat groundwater , Ghana
In response to the high levels of fluoride in groundwater in Ghana that cause fluoride related health health problems, the project plans to piolet field tests of fluoride removal filter with aluminum oxide coated media.

Christian Irakoze and Aimé Bizimana , Eza Neza Aeroponics, Rwanda
Eza Neza is a Rwandan company that wants to enable urban farmers to use simple but innovative aeroponics solution to produce food crops. The vertical farming aeroponics is an advanced form of hydroponics. It is not only innovative but also ensures less use of land and water. The Eza Neza team is currently piloting the aeroponics and with VIA Water Accelerator programme plan to learn how they can further their pilot to make it commercially viable as well as pro-poor.

VIA Water thanks all of the contestants for joining the challenge, and congratulates the winners – best of luck to all of you!