The participants discussed and visited projects involving the Dutch water sector, such as the VIA Water project in Parakou, with the Strategic Adviser of the Water Support Programme Jan Spit, who was also in Benin.
The VIA Water programme was set up by Aqua for All. The latter’s membership of NWP has presented many new opportunities for VIA Water. “The partnership with NWP has raised awareness of the VIA Water programme in the water sector. Until now the highlights were the participation in conferences such as "Geld als Water in 2014", the "Drop the Mic" event during AIWW 2017, the matchmaking sessions during the NWP Partner's Meeting in the summer of 2017 and our recent participation in the Dutch pavilion during the 2018 Stockholm World Water Week ,” according to Titia Wouters.
Audrey Legat goes on to say: “VIA Water identifies innovative ideas and entrepreneurs. They are there at the start of a process and help to establish partnerships with the local water sector. The ability of VIA Water to open doors is very helpful for the Dutch water sector.” The most important basis for this cooperation is the Water Support Programme implemented by NWP and RVO.nl.
The strong links between the Water Support Programme implemented by RVO.nl and NWP and the VIA Water programme set up by Aqua for All benefit both parties. Both are run on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the seven African countries supported by VIA Water, the two programmes help to strengthen the local water sector in different ways. This is all the more reason to work together and complement one another. The mission to Benin is a good example of this.
VIA Water was set up as a knowledge platform based on practical experience. The programme supports the development of innovative projects. Aqua for All, as VIA Water’s project fund manager, maximises the potential of the pilot phase of these projects and finds financial backers and investors to invest in upscaling. The Water Support Programme and the Dutch water sector also benefit from the practical experience gained in the process: the partnership enables the exchange of knowledge and experiences with regard to developing entrepreneurship, innovation and networks in the countries in question. Strategic advisers assigned by the Water Support Programme also play an important role in establishing contacts with local parties and raising awareness of the VIA Water programme.
Aqua for All is currently developing a follow-up programme. NWP looks forward to continuing the cooperation and exchange between the Water Support Programme and VIA Water in the years to come.