MALI, Sikasso – In 2010 small solar lanterns were quite new on the Malian market. They can provide a handy solution in off-grid rural areas. Rural Energy Foundation Mali had built a stable network of solar retailers who were keen to sell these lanterns. But how to reach the customers in such dispersed areas?
GHANA, Bolgatanga – The Vocational Training Institute in Northern Ghana was mainly attended by female students, who were learning to become hairdresser, cook or dressmaker. Unfortunately not many jobs were available once the students had finished school. Therefore more emphasis was placed on the possibility to become an entrepreneur.
MALI, Bamako – NCA funded about 30 development aid projects every year. However, NCA and their local partner organizations had difficulties to visualize this work. Besides the regular reports they were not used to communicate their projects in a readable fashion with high quality images. How to increase their visibility?
GHANA, Bolgatanga – A dressmaker in Northern Ghana had quite some clients locally, but wanted to think bigger. We became friends and she mentioned she wanted to attend the SIAO, an international arts and crafts fair that is held once every two years in Burkina Faso. Unfortunately she lacked financial support to be able to be present.
MALI, Bamako – With an unstable situation externally due to the rebellion in Northern Mali in 2012-2013, and a lack of capacity internally in the organization, there was not much time to have a focus on strategic issues within NCA. This resulted in a situation where the organization was running after its own tail, rather than to sail a steady course.
MALI, Bamako – Most development aid organizations are juggling two needs: the ones from the beneficiaries on the ground, and the ones from the donor organization at the head quarters. NCA in Mali was no exception. One way to bring these needs together was by organizing a workshop for all local partner organizations involved. Due to the fact that most of our partner organizations were located 2 to 3 days drive from the capital it was no easy tasks to organize such an event.
GHANA, Bolgatanga – The Vocational Training Institute in Northern Ghana was not getting any financial support from the government and was struggling with their infrastructure (lack of benches, study materials, mosquito nets, etc). So there was an urgent need to raise external funds.
MALI, Bamako – In 2012-2013 there was a rebellion in Northern Mali. In this region ⅔ of NCA’s development aid projects were situated, and so local partner organizations were directly affected. My team and I had to juggle all factors in this unstable time to make a decision whether or not we should continue our funding to these development aid projects.
MALI, Timbuktu – NCA had started a solar project in villages in Timbuktu region, where illiterate women were selected and trained in India as solar engineers. The villages had also received solar equipment from India. The women were able to do the maintenance on these systems, but spare parts could not be found on the local Malian market. When the life-cycle of the solar batteries ended after 3-4 years, there was no money to buy a replacement. So how to make this project more sustainable?