2023: A year in review

burundian kid dancing

At the beginning of this new year, we take the time to look back at some of our work in 2023. Thank you to all colleagues and partners involved who commit themselves to working hard in their different domains of expertise. All with the same common goal: making the world a slightly better place than the day before.

 

January

The year 2023 began with the documentary series “A day for life” (Mokolo Moko Po Na Bomoyi in Lingala). In nine episodes we follow the daily life stories of Dorcas, Gisèle, Rose and other young Congolese living in Tshopo. What they all have in common is that they have all passed through the Elikya incubator, which offered vocational training and helped them find lasting employment.
Fancy a little replay? Watch the series here.

Meanwhile in Burundi, we focused our attention on environmental protection with the launch of a new project to conserve ecosystems and biodiversity around Kibira and the Rusizi reserve.
The aim? Better manage protected areas and nature reserves and contribute to the sustainable restoration of degraded land. Supported by the European Union, Belgium and the United Nations Development Programme, the project aims to have a positive impact on the quality of life of 900,000 Burundians.

 

February

Quality education is an investment in future generations. In February, we kicked off the #WeConnect for Future Generations event in Casablanca, Morocco: over 90 participants from 16 countries came together to share their experiences of providing quality education and decent job opportunities in the most remote regions of our partner countries.

 

March

On 10 March, to mark International Women’s Day, Enabel, together with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation), the Representation of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie to the EU and Djaïli Mbock, organised a round table on the links between technological innovation and women’s entrepreneurship . The discussions highlighted the ocean of opportunities offered by new technologies to entrepreneurs, from management tools to interconnected communities.

Also in honour of International Women’s Day, we set off to meet Mabel Adekambi. Originally from Benin, she is the founder of Fram Business, an incubator that helps women with agri-food projects turn their ideas into reality. But what is closest to her heart is the involvement of women in the digital world. Watch her interview.

April

Enabel, VITO and the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD) organised in Brussels an international conference highlighting the catalytic role of water as a risk, but also as a solution to climate change. To what extent is water essential to the development of resilient cities? What impact does it have on our food, energy and ecosystems? You can read the conclusions of the event here.

 

May

The project to promote the mobility of entrepreneurs between Côte d’Ivoire and Belgium was officially launched in Abidjan on 3 May. Its aim? Facilitate the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Côte d’Ivoire, through temporary mobility schemes and the building of lasting business partnerships with Belgian companies.
The agri-food sectors – particularly cocoa and chocolate – the green economy, the digital economy and the cultural and creative industries are at the heart of these initiatives.

Meanwhile, back in Brussels, we met our first penguin… from Uganda! Our colleague Tom Vanneste, Enabel’s representative in Uganda, and his team won the Innovation Penguin at the first edition of the Federal Innovation Prize organised by NIDO Innovation Lab, the Belgian public service innovation laboratory.

 

June

In the rural desert areas of southern Mauritania, agriculture and livestock breeding are vital economic activities. Water is an essential resource for irrigating crops, watering livestock and boosting local food production. Through an initiative supported by the European Union, Enabel has facilitated the construction of 12 hydro-agricultural dams that benefit more than 5,000 households and their agro-pastoral activities and that provide sustainable access to drinking water.

Did you know that an average of 100,000 tonnes of fish are caught each year in the Ségou and Mopti regions of Mali? To contribute to sustainable aquaculture, we have supported more than 700 fish merchants in these regions through training in good fish smoking practices, the supply of equipment and marketing support.

 

July

“It’s by opening up to the world and encouraging exchanges between communities that we achieve results.” As part of the PEM Wecco project, which supports the development of sustainable partnerships between Senegalese and Belgian entrepreneurs, a series of boot camps were organised in 2023. The ambitious aims of this project are countless: from generating original ideas for Senegalese entrepreneurs, to learning how to pitch a project with impact, to studying best practice for successful partnerships…  There’s plenty to do!

In Guinea, we are working with the European Union and local authorities on a project to modernise the civil registry and facilitate access to essential documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates. To date, more than 105,000 civil status records have been migrated to the new Guinean national digital register. Zoé Allado, the project leader, explained how it works.

August

With summer in full swing, our colleague Oblé Neya, regional coordinator of the climate programme for the Sahel, spoke about the challenges and progress of the Great Green Wall, in which Enabel is taking part: an ambitious initiative aimed at reforesting 100 million hectares of land in the Sahel. This green belt, which stretches 8,000 km across Africa, should help combat desertification and improve the lives of millions of people in the region. From Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east, 11 countries are involved.
Since the initial idea, the project has come a long way. Find out why.

 

September

In Musanze, a mountain city in the north of Rwanda, Enabel worked with the city council to renovate a youth centre to boost young people’s creativity, propose skills trainings and stimulate employment.
Equipped with sports facilities, artist workshops, IT rooms or entrepreneurial hubs, the centre was inaugurated in September along with an atypical, 4-meter-high statue: a CosmoGolem. Created by Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen and built by 14 Rwandese artisans, the wooden sculpture symbolises hope and diversity for young people in search of their own voice…but who better to talk about it than the artist himself?

 

October

Young people shape the societies they are part of. Access to a stable job is an important prerequisite to take up that role. In Uganda, we worked with Irish Aid and local partners to increase professional training opportunities for young people in the Karamoja region. Over 1800 Karimojong youth, women and girls successfully developed their skills – and about 80% of them found a job.

 

November

On 28 November, the Awa Prize gave us another reason to celebrate women entrepreneurs. The 2023 edition brought together some 200 guests, with Axelle Red and Youssou N’Dour as masters of ceremony. Also Caroline Gennez, Minister for Development Cooperation, attended. She emphasised: “Every day, millions of women commit themselves to universal values. And they are not alone. Together, we can make the difference.” Relive the highlights of the ceremony (video).

 

December

Our colleagues in Burundi combined business with pleasure by planting tree during their annual teambuilding. More than 180 colleagues came together with members of the Belgian Embassy in Burundi and the Governor of Cibitoke province to plant trees along the banks of the Muhira River, close to an irrigation dam recently built by one of our programmes. Result: 2.500 trees planted in one day, infrastructure strengthened and teams united and happy! A modest but meaningful contribution to preserving the environment and protecting infrastructure that is vital to the people of the province.

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