I am in Luxemburg right now, just before my trip to Kenya, participating in a micro financing -MF, workshop the mission was twofold, Making the young entrepreneurs initiative sustainable - apparently MF for Young people 18-35 is a fairly new product because its deemed even more risker that regular MF. And the second mission to incorporate water and sanitation segment into the list of products that they offer. Currently MF is offered for businesses such as hairdressing, catering and the like.
We were a group of 14 people, from Togo, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, representing the local MFIs; Israel, Netherlands, Germany we were the consultants in water and sanitation, participants from Luxemburg, from a local NGO supporting the African initiatives and from the university of Luxemburg and lastly beautiful Katerina the 9 week old baby of our moderator who worked and mothered simontanously. The dynamics were very interesting capitalizing on the backgrounds and experiences of each of the participants. Conclusions: water and sanitation is a vital sector although it is very complex one; MFIs can be part of the solution to the vast financial gap that exists in order to reach the SDG goal for water, (the goal is water for all by 2030 and the financial gap is at least $3.3billion annually); the young entrepreneur segment is an important one for income security and creating additional cliental; in the water sector MF can be given to income generating activities such as pump technician but also to the community so that they can pay for the service. And there were additional findings, which will be developed and presented later.
Two more interesting issues: this was my first time in Luxemburg, quite a beautiful country, the city of Luxemburg is a sort of fairytale land with its beautiful castles and churches (pic) and lush gardens. the sun is out until 21:30 at least, which made nighttime tourism a new experience, the pubs were full of people, A band was playing Copacabana (pic) and there was a great vibe. Luxemburg is considered a slow pace country, and I did feel the calm.
The workshop I attended was at the university which is in Belval – apparently the largest completely new urban development program in Europe. They took an old industrial area and turned it into an urban area with amazing buildings, the university and all the necessities of a new city. They left much of the old remnants such as a metal factory (pic) and train tracks and incorporated them into the new buildings very interesting.
Good night to all