VIA Water is a Dutch funding programme of IHE UNESCO and Aqua for All that supports innovative projects solving water problems in African cities. VIA Water aims to be more than just a fund. It believes in learning through innovation, aiming for contracted projects to not only reach their goals but also to contribute to a wealth of knowledge about innovation in the water sector in urban Africa.
Young entrepreneurs have many good innovative solutions, they find it however difficult to translate these ideas into convincing business and project proposals. VIA Water envisions guiding projects that have potential to obtain a VIA Water grant, either online or in face-to-face workshops. In order to deliver this tailor made support in the region, VIA Water needed to find experienced facilitators and experts in proposal writing, project and business development, and innovation in the water sector.
MDF Training & Consultancy designed, facilitated and co-organised a series of Learning Tours in Nairobi, Kigali, Benin and Accra. We also delivered an online Proposal Writing Toolbox with instruction videos on how to structure a proposal and the various project management aspects that need to be included (results chains, indicators, risk analysis). This gave the participants the opportunity to come together and learn from each other and from experts, to share experiences about proposal writing, starting up a project and turning their projects into successful businesses. MDF Training & Consultancy facilitators designed interactive workshop exercises to stimulate creative thinking, led peer-to-peer review of project pitches and continuously focussed on learning and reflection.
Participants at the learning events not only gained tools and new insights, they were able to share their knowledge and experiences with each other and new networks were created to keep the learning ongoing. Learning was mutual, with the VIA funding staff also learning from the participants at the inspiring learning events. As a result, VIA Water was better able to meet the needs and provide support to the applicants for implementation of their innovative projects; projects that lead to increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, limit impacts of floods and reduce health risks.