VIA Water, programme on water innovation in African cities, organised its very first public event in February 2015. The event was organised in order for people to get to know the programme, see firsthand what the process of becoming a VIA Water project is like, and to let people experience what the VIA Water community is about. Africa Funded supports Aqua for All, fundmanager of VIA Water with their business incubation program. Saskia Reus-Makkink provided a workshop on getting your idea to market. Saskia is founder of Africa Funded and leads the business incubation program at Aqua for All. One of our coachees, Osman Zafar, had the opportunity to tap into the knowledge and expertise of the VIA Water community in one of the workshops. Please find below the report of the event:
About 85 people joined the programme: an interesting mix of (African) students, NGO and government workers, business people and people from the water sector. Rolf Hut, McGyver scientist and engineer at TU Delft provided the ice breaker, in which he emphasised the need to start testing your innovations soon, and to not be afraid to fail. Simply put: stop thinking, start tinkering! The day continued with an informative session on VIA Water, its community and the fund: key components were discussed, such as the importance of sharing your ideas in the Community, the idea of learning by innovating and of course the criteria that a proposal should meet in order to apply for funding.
The Road to VIA Water - find the video report here!
In the four workshops the building blocks of the programme were highlighted. Kevin Maina, MSc student from Kenya currently studying at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education (which is where VIA Water is residing), showed us the hurdles he has come across with his plan to turn plastic garbage into roofing tiles. The workshop illustrated the need for a good plan, which is also what our selection process aims to steer toward. In this plan, the need to think through the exact research question you are trying to solve is essential, as became clear during the workshop Osman Zafar (SWS International) organised on struvite production from urine. Expert on viable business plans Saskia Reus-Makkink talked about turning innovative ideas into viable business models, while Rolf Hut showed the participants what he means by starting to tinker by making a rain sensor on the spot. The event proved to be a useful introduction of the programme for participants, while for the programme itself is was valuable to see what we can do to lower the barriers for people to join the VIA Water programme and Community.
Source: VIA Water