Esther van Loon
Young Expert at Semilla Sanitation Hubs - Kenya
YEP period 2020 - 2022, batch 21
For two years I will be going to Kenya representing SEMiLLA Sanitation, aiming to implement the ‘Closed Loop’ concept. The CLC contains three building blocks creating a closed-loop; drinking water units, sanitation facilities, and treating sewage water to make compost and irrigation water. Prior to implementation of SEMiLLA Sanitation analysis the local needs with the end goal to create a closed (water) loop.
My role will be implementation specialist. Therefore, I will be responsible for the activities around the implementation of the CLC. During the first year, I will analyse the local need and environment, organize the financing of the CLC and at the same time write a project plan related to the implementation of the CLC. During the funding period, I will constantly keep the contacts warm and keep stakeholders informed of the progress, look for new partnerships, expand the network and gain insight into the local culture and environment. In addition, I will investigate further opportunities. The second year of the program will be devoted to the implementation of the CLC and will consist of the following activities:
- Drawing up activity plans, budgets, monitoring the progress of the project, and reporting.
- Installation and training for systems within the CLC.
- Validation followed by optimization of the operations.
- Validation of stakeholders, partners, service providers, and entrepreneurs.
- Analysis of the local environment and calculation of the actual cost price.
Eager to learn
Education: MSc. Science and Business Management
Experience before YEP
I have a healthcare background. I studied molecular biology as a bachelor and worked for four and a half years at a pharmaceutical company as a microbiological specialist. Eventually, I noticed I had more affiliation with the business aspects of my work. For this reason, I quit my job and enrolled for a master’s in science and business management. Here I discovered my passion for entrepreneurship, so after my studies, I set up a startup in healthcare.
A growing hobby of mine has been learning about sustainability. For this reason, as voluntarily work, I was coaching students for a social entrepreneur project provided by SEMiLLA Sanitation. I enjoyed this so much that I stopped with my start-up and started working for SEMiLLA Sanitation. With this opportunity, all my experiences came together nicely as a microbiologist, healthcare specialist, entrepreneur, and sustainability hobbyist.