“We were tired of getting water from the well. I now just have to turn the tap on and water comes out”, Mabrodjé Fofana is happy to say. This student lives in Dioulabougo, a poor neighborhood in Man, the capital of the West region. In the common courtyard, where she lives with her parents and other residents, the two large wells have been replaced by water meters and pipes. “We paid 10,000 CFA francs instead of 120,000 CFA francs to be connected to the water network”, remembers Sanata Doumbia.
This mother lives a bit further away in the neighborhood. “We have drinking water… Here, drink and see for yourself”, she proposes to her visitors, serving them in a plastic glass. In the family courtyard, her daughters are washing the laundry. Further along, women are busy cooking. At the Doumbia’s, water is essential to daily life.
Involvement of local communities
It’s everybody’s business… While AFD is the donor for this “social connections” project, the contracting authority is the Ministry of Economic Infrastructure (MIE) via the project supervision unit of the C2D (Debt Reduction-Development Contract signed between France and Côte d’Ivoire). SODECI (Water Distribution Company in Côte d’Ivoire) is responsible for the implementation of the works, under the supervision of the National Drinking Water Office (ONEP).
For the project’s social support, MIE has called on the NGO Action Against Hunger (ACF). This NGO relies on local communities both to encourage people to buy into the project and to sensitize them to hygiene issues. “Our communities need to be reassured over the seriousness and effectiveness of the project. It is for this reason that we act as an interface to explain the merits of our action to them”, points out Idrissa Fadiga, neighborhood chief.
Our communities need to be reassured over the seriousness and effectiveness of the project.
In Biankouma, another city in the West, it is the traditional community chiefs who speak up. They speak to communities, but also bring their concerns to the attention of AFD. “More people need to be connected to have drinking water”, argues Diomandé. This traditional chief lives in a neighborhood of Biankoum, at the foot of a mountain. “We need a pipeline in the entire village. Our communities want to have water”, he adds. In Biankouma, as in Facobly, while some already benefit from activated social connections, several communities are still waiting their turn.
A total of 23,254 connections are planned for this entire first phase: 12,000 in the municipality of Abobo, in Abidjan, and 11,254 households in the West. A total of some FCFA 3bn has been invested. It is a bit more than just a beginning.