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Community Participation in the Management of the Urban Environment

Keywords: Poverty Eradication
Community Participation & Urban Governance


Through community participation and support of local authorities, this project aims to improve the environment, hygiene and health conditions of Diokoul (Rufisque) by fighting faecal wastes and unsanitary conditions caused by solid and liquid wastes and lack of urban sanitation infrastructures.

Begun in 1990, the initiative has provided 450 households with private sanitation, of which nearly 200 are linked to waste and water treatment plants through a narrow drainage system.

In addition, 20 horse-drawn carriages collect refuse from households and take it to the treatment plants to be sorted. Waste waters and organic refuse are recycled using a process of lagooning with aquatic plants, which produces compost for urban agriculture.


In West Africa today, the urban population is growing at a rate of about 5-6%. More than 70% of the urban areas on this continent are completely excluded from the urban public service network of drinking water distribution, liquid waste drainage or household refuse collection, as a result of a lack of means at municipality or state level. In the commune of Rufisque, nine quartiers (neighbourhoods) are involved in the programme. These neighbourhoods have a concentration of 51,000 inhabitants, divided up among 5,225 (five thousand two hundred and twenty five) households, i.e. 45% of the commune s population; 30% of this population is illiterate. Each inhabitant produces around 0.70 kg of waste per day; total production for the nine neighbourhoods is 35 tonnes per day, and waste waters amount to 1,800 cubic meters per day. Statistics reveal that 75% of patients treated at the Diokoul community clinic suffer from diarrhoea, dysentery or dermatosis and belong mainly to young age groups. Within the scope of our programme, some actions increasingly call for contracts between grassroots groupings, municipalities and other competent institutions which generally claim territorial rights or demand that all local initiatives be harmonised. Early collection experiences in the poorer neighbourhoods are gaining ground across the town.

It is Enda who runs the programme. It ensures practical training for all those involved in the programme, including members of community groups and associations, and cart drivers. Management committees composed of mandated community representatives (youths, women and the elderly) and municipal technical and health services have been established to ensure a continuous assessment, follow-up and prospective of actions.

The municipality is involved in different actions, and is represented at the meetings of each continuous assessment committee. It approves the establishment of the routes for the early collection of solid waste in the neighbourhoods involved in the programme. The committee is based in the relevant district health centre. It signs the approved contracts with those requiring private refuse collection. A contract is signed with a cart driver, who is supplied with a horse-drawn cart for which he is responsible. The cart driver ensures a door-to-door refuse collection on a determined route. The contract only requires two hours of early collection from the cart drivers and would like such a link between employment and environment not to distort the cart driver s vocation as road hauliers.

Around 450 households have been provided with private sanitation infrastructures, of which nearly 200 are linked to water treatment plants through a narrow drainage system. Up to 65% of demand has been met, which represents 15% of requirements. The population co-finances this equipment at a rate of about 70%; in the long run, the costs will be entirely covered by the beneficiaries. Cost recovery is ensured by the management committee, which counter signs the contracts for the beneficiaries of the sanitation infrastructures. The costs recovered by the programme are invested into a community revolving fund (savings account), which will allow other inhabitants requesting such infrastructures to benefit from the project.

The development of private sanitation has enabled us to confirm the ability of the neighbourhood representatives on the continuous assessment committee to administer the supply of work created by the construction sites. Youths from the neighbourhood have been trained by the programme and organised into several micro-enterprises working in enhancing the value of refuse (recycling, compost and urban agriculture).

The existence of a frame of reference at a local level - Enda TM / Local Authorities / Health Committee - allows for the harmonisation of the various initiatives with the local urban management policies.

The main impacts of the PADE (Diokoul and Surroundings Sanitation Programme) are economic (job creation, increase in revenues); social (lightening women s workload, improvement of living conditions, home economics and especially social status of participants); environmental and sanitary (fight against the spread of faecal hazards, domestic refuse and numerous illnesses); communal (reinforcement of independence of the community and citizenship of its inhabitants).

The most visible effect on urban policy is to have shown the feasibility of inhabitants taking direct charge of their own waste collection and recycling, and the construction of private sanitation infrastructures within their community. Also, the municipal authorities have recognised the validity of this alternative solution, which is particularly well-suited to the layout of poor neighbourhoods. They have accepted the need to provide incentives by exempting the collection carts from municipal taxes. The treatment of liquid waste allows the spread of a new waste management policy, which will promote a new enhanced value resource.


- 4000 meters of narrow sewarage system
- 450 households benefit from private santitation
- 2 water and waste treatment plants built
- 3000 households benefit from door-to-door waste collection
- 90 cubic meters of water recycled daily
- 3 tonsof refuse recycled daily
- 70 jobs full-time created over 4 years
- 50 people trained in recycling
- 40 000 US$ in funds mobilised within the community
- 40 people participate in regional exchanges of experiences
- 1930 participants in the programme management out of 2316 are women
- 50 programme decision-makers out of 90 are women
- 33% reduction in illnesses related to the environment over 4 years
- 1.8% increase in household income over 4 years
- 86.2% decrease in annual facilities maintenance expenditure over 4 years
- 50% reduction in costs of private sanitation infrastructures over 4 years


A central element for the launching and sustainability of development in this project is the FOCAUP (Community Fund for the Sanitation of the Poor Urban Areas). It implicates several partners and enables the community to control resources.

The beneficiaries of these infrastructures contribute to their construction, in form of a reimbursement to a savings account constituting the FOCAUP, a revolving fund which will become the resource for future investments once external financing is terminated. The community hence recovers the reimbursements paid on their loans. Reimbursement capacity increases, and the writing off of debts and non-erosion of capital are ensured.

Each loan constitutes a contract signed between the beneficiary and Enda, and is guaranteed by the Health Committee of the neighbourhood of residence of the beneficiary. This committee ensures the satisfaction of the terms of the contract. This system has allowed for the reimbursement of 93% of the credits obtained during the first phase of the programme (1990 - 1992). In September 1995 the savings account on which they are deposited amount to some 19 million FCFA (42 000 US$). This alone proves the feasibility of mobilising local savings to finance local initiatives of urban infrastructure.

These resources will grow, and should reach 30 million FCFA (close to 70 000 US$) by the end of Phase II of the PADE, this constituting a solid basis for the community fund which will guarantee low-interest credits which could be granted by the bank to those in need of private sanitation structures. Here the role of the NGO is one of training in technology, capacity-building and control, the bank having replaced it in the function of money lender.

The population is an integral participant of the management of this fund through the sovereign expression of its needs, which are registered as indicators of progress in the field of urban environment. Local fora are organised on a monthly basis for this purpose, as well as to stimulate decision-making and prospective.
This approach catalyses close interactions between potential actors who offer resources, expertise and experience to the population. This process also leads to a raising of consciousness of populations in terms of their environment.

The FOCAUP does not subsidise the technical structures for the promotion and the production of urban infrastructure. It provides credit to individuals and communities in order to finance local initiatives inscribed in their communal processes of sanitation and urban environment.

Two components characterise the FOCAUP:
- the mobilisation of savings and national, public and private resources (financial and non-financial)
- the mechanisms allowing for the successful articulation of formal savings systems and credit to non-institutional systems. This articulation finds its dynamic in a bottom-up approach, whereby the population is linked to institutional systems. This articulation can inversely be promoted top-down, thus tending to a communal dynamic.


    Mr. Malick Gaye / ENDA RUP
    54 Rue Carnot
    BP 3370
    221 22 09 42


    Enda Tiers Monde, Dakar, Senegal
    Mr. Malick Gaye
    54, rue Carnot
    BP 3370
    221 22 09 42; fax: 221 23 51 57


    Rufisque Local Authority, Senegal
    Mr. F. Diallo/ ENDA RUP
    54, rue Carnot
    BP 3370
    221 22 09 42

    District Health Committees of Rufisque
    Diokoul Kher
    221 36 08 37

    Canadian-Senegalese Host Country Participation Fund (FCCS), Senegal
    Mr. Babacar Diop / FCCS
    51, rue Jules Ferry
    BP 3373
    221 21 15 34

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