Programme for Sanitation and Protection of the Environment (PrAPE), Benin
Mr. Raphaël Edou: DCAM BETHESDA Mayor Alassane Seidou: Commune de Kandi
Case study for Workshop and Networking Event Building Bridges with the Grassroots: Scaling up through knowledge sharing
12th, 13th, 17th September 2004 World Urban Forum, Barcelona
CASE STUDY : PROGRAM FOR SANITATION AND PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT (PRAPE) BENIN Introduction
PrAPE is an experience in living conditions improving in Benin. Benin is located in West Africa and has six million citizens, mostly young. Half of this population is living in cities or towns. Politically, Benin has been stable and is led under a democratic system where individual’s freedom is respected. About two years ago, decentralization had become a reality. Since then, the populations are happy to build their future by themselves. This peaceful feature made of the country a dynamic place in the region which receives many foreign people from around the world. As a result, urbanization rate in Benin is growing up considerably (about 38% ); as such we need to pay more attention to urban areas. In 1993, the Bethesda health center launched the promoting public health process by developing many activities to clean the urban area and to improve living conditions. Furthermore, sanitation activities started in the neighborhood around the center. This experience consists of garbage collection and treatment, improving of income generating activities, training of local community and cooperation with public administration and national or international agencies which are good examples of sanitation issues and community development in Benin. Initiated in poor neighborhoods in Cotonou, this experience has been duplicated in many towns in the country with EED financial support and was also recognized as a best practice in 2002 by the program “ Habitat of the United Nations”. This initiative is very helpful for all the people in urban areas of developing countries because of its high learning skill. PrAPE is also useful for the whole world due to its sustainable development issues. The context in which this experience was established, the strategy using, the results obtained, and its duplication strategy are the main parts of this presentation.
1. Context of the project
In 1993, in partnership with the community of Ste Rita’s neighborhood, the Bethesda health center started this experience whose objective is to improve the health preventive system. By that time, Benin was trying to overcome political, economic, social, and a deeper crisis, which fortunately carried it into a democratic policy without bloodshed after the national conference in 1990. The waste management department too was affected by these financial problems and within the whole city of Cotonou, the department could work but with only three trucks. Before Pr.A.P.E., there was no garbage collection by the government or any other source. Consequently, the trash was not collected as it should be and as a result many peolpe just threw their garbage away in the streets. In the streets where there were holes, they simply dumped the garbage. At Cotonou, a city located between the sea in the south and the lagoon in the north, for instance, the situation was dramatic. Household garbage surrounded persons near their houses, in the streets and canals. As a matter of fact the population suffered many illnesses, e.g. gastroenteritis. According to statistics from this center, established in 1990 by Mennonite missionaries from the United States, Canada, and France with Benin’s churches, the number of patients doubled each year. To solve this pubic
health problem, Bethesda initiated this project with the neighborhood association in this area where there are no collection sites and Cotonou did not have a land fill.
Tableau1 : Sanitation Situation between 1992-1993 in the previous department of l’Atlantique Diseases Malaria Diarrhoeic diseases Bronchopneumoniac diseases Anemia And other kinds of traumatism Source : Public Health Minister Rates (%) 1992 29,11 12,41 11,30 6,54 4,09
1993 32,83 4,33 11,52 7,32 4,20
2. Project’s goals
Develop a sustainable waste management system in Ste Rita's neighborhood, Treat ecologically collected garbage in an appropriate site, promote job creation, Dialogue with government and share the responsibilities about waste management, Build the managing abilities of local organization.
3. Strategies of the project
One of the specific features of the project was its community approach, which consists of many meetings, discussions, dialogues between the local authorities, women's associations, young organizations, seniors, and public services to choose the main goals and all the desired results. In fact, the government, the civilian society and French cooperation agency were involved in the planning of this initiative. This process lead to a formalized agreement with the community that clearly explained how the activities were shared between the NGO and the community. The approach had taken a long time, about 18 months. However, it was the juncture for the building of confidence between all the people involved with this experience.
4. Steps of the project and its different actors.
a- Initiative of the project The database in the Bethesda health center pointed out how the same people were always coming back to the center with the same diseases. So, the board decided to evaluate the preventive care system in the hospital and finally thought they had better improve the living condition in the community and help this community to take control of all future responsibilities regarding their sanitation issues. The health center had created the department for community development and environmental protection which alerted the community and other participants about the powerful need to do something in order to prevent the health of people from diseases.
b- Planning of the project This step took a long time because the approach was founded after negotiations with various people touched by the project. Despite of its length, this methodology has been the virtual reasons for the success and consisted of : Meeting with local authorities to think of how everything must be done and how the committee that was in charge must be chosen on behalf of the population. The agenda for this meeting was about to figure out the best way to make the system work. Because they must become self-sufficient in the future, we decided together of the fees people had to pay per month for waste collection. Some person didn’t believe that it was possible to get this money from the people. However, the fee was finally decided at 0.4 Euro for each house per month. The choice of the first activities was to get people’s attention so that they could join the project and work together. The community chose to start the project by filling all the holes in the streets where people were throwing their trash and at the same time suspress all the land dumping. The interesting things were the project was changing anytime a new need seemed important for the populations. Visiting many public offices to get their advice was one of the strengths of the project. The waste management departments in Cotonou and Porto-novo were contacted and had an understanding about their project ideas and expressed their feelings and concerns about what we wanted to do. The environmental and health ministries were involved and attended many educative meetings in the community. The negotiations with the French cash development took place simultaneously and their flexibility made some changes possible to be able to take the community needs into account. Final adoption of the project by a technical committee was composed by the representative of the French Embassy, Financial Minister of Benin and the United Nations development program in Benin. This committee gave an orientation for the project and approved it as a hope for sustainable development in Benin. Finally, the preparation of the project, which was very long, ended correctly with the financial supply, the land for the recycling center and all the permission we needed from the environmental ministry had been concluded.
5. Project activities
a- Education on health and environmental issues. It consisted of teaching many topics about sanitation, environmental protection, and the relations between both domains. We explained to people how they had better clean up their houses and neighborhoods to save their income in case of diseases care fees. Even if it is difficult to understand the environmental aspects of waste management, the health issues
were the best ways to catch the attention of people and help them protect themselves. The government often supports this education program by attending some special events, that is the case of the launching of the project in January of 1995. On that day, the environmental minister came with the French agencies. He also came to our final day to give a prize for schoolboys who won the award for the contribution of young people for environmental protection. All of these examples, were in a good cooperation between the initiative and the government .The education has continued, but is now focusing on sorting waste in houses and separating the organic and inorganic matter. There are currently six thousand household participating in this program. b- Waste collection activities. Suppressing the dump. The first act is to suppress the dumping on the ground and to clean up the area and also to keep this site cleaned for the whole term of the project. This means to avoid letting people throw their trash anywhere. Because we use a chat to collect waste from house to house, we needed some places in the city where the garbage was gathering until its collected by the truck and taken to the recycling center. Any delays in the collecting schedule made people in this area angry because of the smell and the flies around the site and the nearby houses. The strict adherence to the collecting schedule was the indicator of people in the community that the work is been done well. Precollection. It is the most important step in the system and it needs to become financially and ecologically sustainable to be self-supporting. Young people who collected waste from to door to door, then till to the site, where they gathered it, used the cart made locally in the community. Twice a week, the garbage has been collected with a compensation of 0.4 euro a month in 94; 0.8 in 95; 1.6 euro in 1999 and 2.4 euro today. The level of collection rate was 0% in 94; 20% in 95; 50 % in 1997 and more than 90 % of the households nowadays. The funds raising level was from 20% in 1994 to 95% in 2001. The collection activities have continued and were lead by the local organization. At the same time, we established the recuperation of materials like plastic for our plastic recycling center, where more than 100 tons of granulated plastic are available a year. Two years ago, a new program started and used our granulate from recycling plastic. This activity is a way, to help develop small recycling factories. In the same way, households are encouraged to sort their waste at home. In fact, six thousand households are doing well. There are currently two contemnors : one for organic matter and the second one for inorganic matter. In this way, we reduce the amount of waste being transported to the landfill, and it also increases the life of the land. Our experience permitted to make an economy of transport of 15.262,5 FCFA
(either 23,27 euro) by ton of garbage.
The pre-collect activities have been extended to the whole city of Cotonou, which recognized this approach of waste collecting. The environment ministry supports these activities in the county and has donated trucks, carts, bottles, and gloves. All the NGO in Cotonou created a network and 75 NGOs are members. The Oxfam Quebec helped them to build their capacity. The ONGs are using seven hundred