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Institutionalizing Community-Based Development
Cote d'Ivoire

Keywords: Economic Development
Community Participation & Urban Governance

Narrative

In Abidjan, given the hardships caused by structural adjustment, the Mayor of Adjame has opted to focus on unemployment, poverty and environmental degradation. Neighborhood committees (CDQs) were established to engage the energies and resources of local communities and channel efforts towards improving their living conditions and economic situation. CDQ activities range from environmental improvements that provide a sanitary setting for housing to the building and operation of community facilities and services. By building up the capacity of CDQ's, the municipality promotes individual self improvement initiatives and economic self-reliance among its communities. The CDQs are involved in many different activities including street cleaning and garbage collection; security services; and operating commercial enterprises. They also undertake some infrastructure improvements such as road maintenance, cleaning of drains and street lighting. In 1994, the Commune launched two new CDQ initiatives. The first aims to create a health center in each of the 19 quarters, managed by a health CDQ. The first center opened in April 1995. The second initiative combines micro-incubators and training programs to encourage young Ivorians to start commercial enterprises. The first stores operated by the trainees were opened in May, 1995.


Impact

  • CDQ activities have generated full and part time employment for an estimated 2,000 workers.
  • CDQs collect 60 million CFA ($120,000) in fees and mobilize an additional 10-15 million CFA ($20,000) for specific projects including infrastructure development.
  • Through the CDQ structure the municipality achieves leverage ratios of six or higher on public resources invested.
  • The Municipality, working with the CDQs, has negotiated with the privately operated water company to cut the cost of basic house connections by 60%.
  • Fully operational Health CDQ launched jointly with Health Institute a vaccination campaign reaching 800 children.
  • A three month training program at the Higher Institute for Commercial Studies has selected 40 young men and women for apprenticeship with local businesses.
  • The CDQs mobilized funds that can amount to about 30% of infrastructure project costs and also promotes the hiring of local laborers, providing jobs for 200 local workers.

Sustainability

In the face of seemingly overwhelming obstacles, Adjame has managed to initiate and institutionalize a sustainable community based development process. Its success is due to key policies:

First: Fostering empowerment and accountability in local governance through nurturing and institutionalization of community based structures, the CDQs.
Second: Responding to the scarcity of public resources by judicious investment and leveraging in order to expand rather than curtail urban services to the poor.
Third: Adopting strategies conducive to long term economic viability and based on sound financial management. Sustainability is ensured by providing the CDQs with seed capital for their initiatives and requiring activities to be operated on a self supporting basis.
Fourth: Recognizing that the effectiveness of public/ private partnership rests on defining a new role for the municipality as a catalyst and enabler and marshaling the higher efficiency of independent microentrepreneurs to manage and deliver urban services in the poorer districts through the CDQ structure.

The CDQ structure has empowered Adjame's residents and given them greater control over decisions which affect their lives. Dynamic CDQ leaders have learnt to further their community's interests and to use the CDQ structure to organize self-defense committees in order to deflect political pressure and fight exaction and corruption .

Over the years, the CDQ structure and its interface with the municipality have evolved first in response to national political liberalization, then as a result of the Mayor's forceful strategy of empowerment. Today, CDQ leadership is more representative, governance more democratic, and management more accountable.


Contact

    Mairie d'Adjame
    Adjami, Abidjan
    Cote d'Ivoire
    03 B.P. 238
    225 22 04 96

Sponsor

    Commune of Adjame, Abidjan
    Commune of Adjame
    Mairie d'Adjame
    Abidjan
    Cote d'Ivoire
    03 B.P. 238
    225 22 04 96

Partners

    Commune of Adjame, Abidjan
    Demb l Lassina, Mayor, Commune of Adjam
    Mairie d'Adjame
    Adjame, Abidjan
    Cote d'Ivoire
    03 B.P. 238
    225 22 04 96

    N/A
    Coulibaly Seydou, Secretary CDQs
    Mairie d'Adjame
    Adjame, Abidjan
    Cote d'Ivoire
    03 B.P. 238
    225 224 317


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