Water Entrepreneur in North Benin
When the family company Eijkelkamp existed for 100 years it became ‘Royal Eijkelkamp’. The owner, the Eijkelkamp family then started the ‘Eijkelkamp Foundation’. The aim is to use company knowledge, means and materials in the soil and water domain for special projects that help less developed countries.
In 2015 the Eijkelkamp Foundation started with the Water Entrepreneur (WE) project. From 2014 till 2017 I was the project leader of this project. The WE project provides clean drinking water to 100.000 people in the dry northern province of Alibori in Benin. With access to safe drinking water people are less often ill and this stimulates agricultural development and food security.
Water is made available using innovative technology and management. A solar pump fills a storage tank and people can tap water 7/24 using a tag on which they have bought water credits. Payment for water is for water entrepreneurs that make a living out of selling water. Each entrepreneur manages and maintains about four of such Water Access Points (WAPs). Each WAP serves about 100 households or about 600 people.
The water Entrepreneurs are recruited among jobless young academics in Water or Environmental science. They receive a 4-weeks training to change their mind set from ‘potential government employee’ into commercial Water Entrepreneur. Focus in the training is on ‘social entrepreneurship’ in order to serve the local communities in their agrarian development. They are well organised in a foundation ‘l’Association Béninoise des Entrepreneurs en Eau et Assainissement’ (ABEEA); https://www.abeea.org.
The 7-year project receives subsidy from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. This institute stimulates Dutch enterprises with sustainable, water related, innovative and international business. Royal Eijkelkamp aims with this project at a win-win activity; good for food security in Benin and good for Dutch entrepreneurs.
Woman taps drinking water
A Water Access Point